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Apple-Bobbing for Bacteria
Halloween Activities hazardous to your health?
The leaves are vibrant colors, Halloween costumes abound, pumpkins are ready to be carved and apple-bobbing is ready to give your kids the flu? Sometimes, we don’t think through some of the most traditional fall activities. But, if we put the same thought into getting a flu shot this season, we should certainly think through one of the easiest ways to spread cold and flu bacteria: bobbing for apples.
As a refresher for those of you who may have been out of the apple-bobbing game for a while, it’s a game that contains a water-bath, apples and, mostly, kids. Then kids line up to dunk water in an -often failed- attempt to bite the apples and victoriously bring them to the surface.
Bring on the Bacteria
Most people are already aware of the constant illnesses that surround young kids. As Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of Microbiology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arizona, puts it “Kids are typically more likely to have colds and flus”. They are also far more likely to be bobbing their heads under water and exposing their nose, eyes, and mouth which contain those cold and flu bacteria to the water. This makes it easy to share these germs with each of the attendees at the fall festivals.
This saliva can contain illnesses, such as strep throat or the flu, that are transferred through that bacteria and can put young kids at risk. It’s very similar to the Petri-dish-like setting of an elementary school, where students harbor germs and exchange them throughout the day with their peers through contact with their hands then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. But apple bobbing cuts out the middleman. Without the hands to act as a barrier, we are allowing some of our most susceptible parts of our body (eyes, nose, and mouth) to be directly exposed to these germs. So, next time you head to the fall fun fests and look for activities to enjoy this wonderful weather, steer clear of the apple-bobbing for bacteria.
Be bacteria smart!