Any parent knows that children can never seem to keep their hands clean! Their eager, curious and imaginative minds just love to touch, feel and hold things – even seemingly gross things like that frog she found in the park and secretly decided to bring home.
So, just how bacteria-filled are your child’s hands? Microbiologist Tasha Sturm shows us.
Photo Source: microbeworld.org
How cool (but the same time creepy) is this? This is the handprint of the bacteria on her 8-year-old son’s hand. This was the bacteria collected on his fingers and palm after a morning of cleaning up a few things in the back yard and petting the dog, Sturm told Business Insider.
The photo was originally posted on Microbe World, a website run by the American Society of Microbiology.In the comments section of her post in Microbe World, Strum said that she is using this plate to show a class she teaches.
Before washing his hands, Sturm asked her son to stamp his hand on a petri dish filled with nutrient broth and incubated it to let the bacteria grow and flourish. After a couple of days, the result was a colorful display of different types of bacteria – staph, micrococcus, bacillus to name a few, Strum said.
A commenter named Brian Stuy was even impressed enough that he wants to do the same for his child. “How can I construct or purchase a plate to make a handprint of my child? Your image is gorgeous!!!,” read the comment. (If you're thinking of doing this too, visit the website here where Strum replied in detail.)
There’s nothing to worry about, however. None of the bacteria shown in the photo are harmful to humans, and they’re even essential to developing a healthy immune system, said Sturm. “We’re exposed to this every day and unless you’re immunocompromised you don’t really have much to worry about. Just be smart and wash your hands.”
As Dr. Martin Blaser, director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University, told Time, “We live in a bacterial world. And the vast majority of those bacteria are neutral or beneficial. Very few are harmful.”
So there’s no need to freak out because you left your antibacterial hand sanitizer at home. Besides, according to experts, those antibacterial soaps could actually be bad for your child anyway. Read more about it here.
Sources: June 9, 2015. "An 8-year-old made this creepy handprint that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'It makes my skin crawl'". businessinsider.com June 12, 2015. "An Eye-Opening Look at All the Bacteria on an 8-Year-Old’s Hands". babble.com April 22, 2015. "You Asked: Should I Use Antibacterial Soap?". time.com