On his very first show, Dr. Oz featured a segment about the germs that women carry around with them, right on their handbags!
On the bottom of your purse, briefcase or backpack not just a used tissue that’s the issue, but also what gets dragged in from the outside. Our bags go with us everywhere and come in contact with germs on bathroom floors and restaurants making them the perfect vehicle for hitchhiking germs. To avoid bringing them into your house place bags on hooks when possible and when you come in the house leave at the doorway and not on the kitchen table.
Items you handle up to 50 times a day can harbor germs and diseases that are both harmful and potentially life-threatening. When tested, everyday items such as your purse, cell phone, keys, and ATM and credit cards harbor germs like:
• Animal and human feces
• E coli bacteria
• Staph bacteria
• Alpha streptococcus bacteria
• Meningitis bacteria
• Gonorrhea bacteria
Yikes! So what can you do about it?
• Wash your hands often.
• Wipe your personal items clean with sanitary wipes.
• Don’t place your purse on any surface; always hang it.
Excerpt from the blog A Place of My Own
While eating lunch this afternoon, I watched an episode of Rachel Ray that taped last week on TiVo. Boy did she have the most interesting segment. It was all about the germs on your purse. Ewww! Ewww! Ewww! The segment was geared around a mother who was a self proclaimed germaphobe. They showed video of her wiping her kids hands with wipes, with ‘magic soap’, wiping her countertops, the grocery cart, door handles, and even as obsessive as bringing her own fold up toilet seat into public restrooms. All the while focusing on whereabouts she places her purse at various places she makes stopped at – inside the shopping cart, the park bench, the park slide, the public restroom floor (I must admit, this one really surprised me, if she’s a true germaphobe, she wouldn’t have placed her purse on the floor of the restroom).
They took her purse and sent it to a lab that swabbed her purse and sent them for cultures. The results that came back even surprised the scientist conducting the study! The purse showed signs of E. Coli, Staph, a form of yeast, and another form of bacteria that causes urinary tract infections.
CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reported that scientists now say it’s the things we use most that harbor the most germs, and the more germs, the more likely viruses are present.
Dr. Charles Gerba — also known as “Dr. Germ” — has been tracking the levels of disease-causing bacteria for 10 years. He uses a germ-meter, which gives a relative idea of how many bacteria are living on a surface. Gerba says your handbag may actually be a Petri bag of germs. Wallace said women plop them down on the bathroom floor, the pigeon-covered sidewalk and then at home. Gerba said,”(Women will) come home from shopping, and then stick it right on the countertop and make lunch.” But what about Wallace’s bag? It was the most germ-ridden of all the ones Gerba tested.
Microbiologist Chuck Gerba researches where organisms that make us sick lurk and lately he says he has found that germs gather on the outside of a woman’s purse, especially on the bottom.
“We found fecal bacteria you normally find on the floor of restroom,” he said. “We found bacteria that can cause skin infections on the bottom of purses. What’s more amazing is the large numbers we find on the bottom of purses, which indicates that they can be picking up a lot of other germs like cold viruses or viruses that cause diarrhea.”
A Local 6 News investigation discovered that what is on the outside of some purses can make their owners sick.
Problem Solver Nancy Alvarez recently swabbed the bottom of several purses being carried by Central Florida women and collected the samples.
The collected samples spent more than a week in a lab and then were tested. A microbiologist found high levels of bacteria on almost every purse, the report said.
A bacterium called staphylococcus was found on Eve Santiago’s purse. It destroyed the red blood cells in the Petri dish.
Excerpted from shoppingblog.com
ABC News has a horrifying article explaining how our handbags are apparently seething with nasty microorganisms which can make us really sick. Remember that book, The Hot Zone by Richard Preston? Apparently, the bottom of our purses is like a chapter from that book. You put your purse down, it picks up E. coli or something else equally awful, then your purse becomes a “subway for germs” as it carries the little nasties from location to location.
Ok, we are now totally freaked out. So, what are you supposed to do — use alcohol wipes on your Marc Jacobs leather handbag? Not in this lifetime, honey. Although, we think our Prada microfiber could stand it…maybe. We never put our purse on the floor — ever. And we never let it near small children (which is not an easy feat, believe us).
Thanks a lot, ABC News. Now we’ll always think of our purses as little “subways for germs.”