Beaumont, Texas dentist Dave Carpenter recommends throwing out your toothbrush immediately after a cold.
“… A toothbrush should be replaced every three months especially after any upper respiratory infection,” Carpenter said. Beaumont said that a more a frugal alternative is to use a dishwasher to disinfect a toothbrush.
Germs like a cold virus can live on a toothbrush up to 48 hours. Studies have also found that a toilet flush can spray up to 6-feet, festering germs throughout the bathroom including on an exposed toothbrush.
A Penn State study found the fungus Fusarium in bathroom sink drains, suggesting that plumbing systems may be a common source of human infections.
Researchers at the school’s College of Agricultural Sciences sampled nearly 500 sink drains from 131 buildings — businesses, homes, university dormitories and public facilities — in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and California.
They analyzed fungal DNA to compare the spectrum of Fusarium species and sequence types found in drains with those recovered from human infections.
“With about two-thirds of sinks found to harbor Fusarium, it’s clear that those buildings’ inhabitants are exposed to these fungi on a regular basis,” said lead investigator Dylan Short, who recently completed his doctorate in plant pathology. “This strongly supports the hypothesis that plumbing-surface biofilms serve as reservoirs for human pathogenic fusaria.”
In one high-profile case, Fusarium was found to have caused a widely publicized 2005-06 outbreak of fungal keratitis — infection of the cornea — among contact-lens wearers.
Microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD, researched just how dirty women’s purses can be and uncovered some pretty nasty organisms living on the surface of them.
“We found fecal bacteria you normally find on the floor of a restroom. 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,” Gerba said.