That’s especially true if you haven’t clipped your nails lately, or if you sport some bling. Research from the University of Nebraska suggests that people who wear rings or keep their fingernails 2 millimeters or longer tend to carry more microbes on their mitts. “My opinion is that the easier it is to clean your hands, the better off you are,” says study author Mark E. Rupp, M.D., professor and chief of the division of infectious disease at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
1. YOUR EAR CANAL
You should never stick your fingers—or anything else—in your ears. “Introducing anything into the ear canal can tear the thin skin that lines the ear canal,” says John K Niparko, M.D., professor and chair of the department of otolaryngology-head & neck surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
If you feel an itching sensation in your ears, see an otolaryngologist rather than trying something DIY. “An otolaryngologist can assess the problem—whether it be wax accumulation, eczema of the skin, or infection—like swimmer’s ear, for example. A tailored program of treatment, ear hygiene, and moisturizing of the skin should be put into play,” says Dr. Niparko.
2. YOUR FACE
You can use your hands to wash your face or apply skincare. But otherwise, keep your paws off. When you rest your hands on a germy surface and then bring them to your forehead, it increases your likelihood of getting sick—and breaking out, too. Your fingers contain oils that can plug your pores, says Men’s Health dermatology advisor Adnan Nasir, M.D.
3. YOUR BUTT
Wiping and washing aside, don’t pick your butt. Just don’t. “The anus does contain bacteria that could potentially be harmful,” says Jared W. Klein M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the after care clinic at Harborview Medical Center. After you poop or touch your butt for any other reason, wash your hands thoroughly.
4. YOUR EYES
Unless you’re putting in contacts or washing away a particle that found its way into your peepers, keep them off limits. You can easily introduce germs into your eyes, says Men’s Healthophthalmology advisor Kimberly Cockerham, M.D. Those bugs could cause anything from pinkeye to a scarier infection. Follow her simple rule: “Don't touch and don't rub.”
And if you do experience itchiness, dryness, or contact lens discomfort, talk to your eye doc. He or she can address the underlying issue.
5. YOUR MOUTH
Recent research from the U.K. found that people put their fingers on or around their mouths an average of 23.6 times per hour when they were bored at work. And they still did it 6.3 times an hour when they were busy! That’s a problem: In a landmark study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, a third to a quarter of germs tested transferred from study subjects’ fingers to their mouths. Maybe you should think about stealing your kid’s pacifier.
6. THE INSIDE OF YOUR NOSE
Quit digging for gold: In a 2006 study of ear, nose, and throat patients published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, nose pickers were 51 percent more likely to carry Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in their schnozzes than those who kept their hands off.
7. THE SKIN UNDER YOUR NAILS
Lots of nasty bacteria, including staph, can live there.“Your nails should be short to reduce the chances of bacterial carriage, and such nails only need a gentle nail brush to remove debris and often,” says David De Berker, MRCP, consultant dermatologist at the British Dermatology Center.
“Picking tends to create trauma in its own right,” he says, “and then any bacteria or yeast can cause further problems—sometimes resulting in a pattern called onycholysis, where the nail lifts off the nail bed.” THINK YOUR FRIEND WOULD BE INTRESTED? SHARE THIS STORY USING ANY OF THE SHARE BUTTON BELOW ⬇ PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>