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The Germy Truth: Debunking Popular Germ Myths

Hear the Facebook news report about how it only takes one flu shot to give you flu immunity for a lifetime?

We’ve all well versed on the universal truth that hand dryers are more sanitary than paper towels, right?

And everyone knows that innocent double-dipping into the salsa doesn’t spread germs, correct?

In a germy world infested by an infinite amount of infectious pathogens, there are just as many myths about germs floating around. The only thing that spreads faster than the common cold is misinformation about germs. Spies don’t tell as many half truths.

But how do you separate germ myth from germ fact? Let’s dig up the truth behind some of today’s biggest germ myths.

One Flu Shot Is Good For A Lifetime Pass From The Flu.

If only avoiding the flu were that easy. Many people assume one vaccination is good for lifetime insurance against the flu. Truth is, flu viruses constantly evolve from year to year and last year’s flu shot is useless to protect you against this year’s most potent virus.

Flu shots must be an annual rite of winter in order to provide strong protection against influenza.

My Immune System Runs Like A Cadillac, I Don’t Need Immunizations. Plus, Vaccines Are Dangerous.

This is one of the most dangerous flu myths, good present health is not a guarantee of a healthy tomorrow.

Vaccines work with your immune system to help you fight infection. Recent reports of a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism have been discounted by scientific data.

As Dr. Bonnie Henry writes on Best Health.com, the simple truth is “vaccines are safe, effective, and our best protection against many infections.”

Hand Dryers Dry out Germs Infinitely Better Than Paper Towels.

Surprisingly, science backs up the trusty paper towel as being a more trustworthy germ killer.

While hand dryers get points for eco-friendliness, they lose the germ termination battle in a landslide to paper towels. A recent review of 12 studies concluded paper towels are far more hygienic than hand dryers, which actually blow bacteria all of your hands, as well as the entire bathroom.

Meanwhile, the friction created by actively wiping down your hands helps scrub off unwanted bacteria, making the paper towel mightier than the hand dryer.

Enjoying Food After A Few Seconds On The Floor Never Hurt Anyone.

The 5-Second Rule is observed worldwide, from the United States to Uganda and Norway to New Zealand.

This beloved germ myth (Really, who wants to throw out great prime rib just because it spent a couple harmless seconds on the ground when it slipped off the plate when you were transferring it from the grill?) is actually a half-truth.

In a recent study, Ashton University researchers dropped food on floors and let it sit anywhere from three to 30 seconds. They then measured the levels of E. coli and staphylococcus and determined that food picked up after just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than food that is left out for longer stretches of time.

The solution: It’s OK to keep observing the 5-Second Rule as long as it doesn’t morph into the 5-Minute Rule.

Double-Dunking Into The Sour Cream Is A Harmless Holiday Tradition.

It’s OK to play germ cop when you see your husband, brother-in-law or kids double dipping at a barbecue or holiday party. Research in the Journal of Food Safety finds that double-dipping in the guacamole really does transfer oral bacteria to your dip. However, single dipping can be just as dangerous as dips naturally produce their own bacteria as they sit out.

As we approach another flu season, here’s one universal germ truth you can believe in: Hand sanitizer like Avant Original Fragrance-Free Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99 percent of germs on contact. And in a germy world where finding the truth about harmful pathogens can be a hard scrub, it’s good to have something you can always rely on.

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