by Sarah Jio
So, you wash your hands–scrub them, even–frequently using hot soapy water. But, have you ever stopped to wonder what might be chillin’ underneath your fingernails? Read on for some surprising truths about what could be camping out under those nails, and the product you may not know about that health experts say could help you zap more germs…
And not to be germ-obsessed, but do you ever wonder about what’s living under your fingernails? Here are some things you may not have known:
1. Your nails may be harboring germs that can make you sick. Researchers found that bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea are often found under people’s fingernails. The culprits? Changing diapers, poor bathroom hygiene and handling raw meat–all can leave behind unwanted guests under your nails.
2. Artificial nails are ickiest. They may look cleaner, because they mask what’s building up underneath, say experts. And, what’s lurking under there, well, it’s not so pretty. Researchers believe that more germs are found under artificial nails than under real ones.
3. Potentially “fatal” germs can lurk under hospital workers’ nails. Ugh, just when you think hospitals are safe places–this unsettling research notes that dirty fingernails could be the source of deadly infections passed from doctors and nurses to patients. An important note: Don’t be afraid of hospitals, but also, don’t be afraid to ask your health care provider to wash her hands when she comes into the room to examine you–especially if you don’t see her scrub up right away or do so carelessly (one doctor who treated my son didn’t even use soap!). Speaking of hospitals, did you see this post about patient safety? Scary stuff.
4. Sorry guys, your nails are germier. According to experts, men have more germs camping out under their fingernails than women. Yes ladies, it’s OK to ask him to wash his hands now and then–especially before getting romantic!
5. Surprise! Nail biters may actually have cleaner nails. But, the good news stops there. According toresearch, while the act of biting nails may clear out bacteria, nail biters ingest more germs. Yuck!
So, what’s a germ-conscious gal to do? Some health experts say there’s a little product that costs less than $5 that we all should keep buy our sinks: a nail brush. Ever heard of one? OK, so you could use an extra toothbrush, too (one you’ll never let in your mouth again!). The idea is to use a brush to flush out those germs that regular handwashing doesn’t really touch. And, here are some healthy nail-care tips from the experts at The Mayo Clinic.
Have you given any thought to the germs under your nails? Do you already use a nail brush? Thinking about tucking one into your boyfriend’s stocking this Christmas?