Weird Medicine

Germs On Hands: 8-Year-Old Boy's Handprint Reveals Various Bacteria After Playing Outside

Handprint
One mom decided to see what kind of bacteria were on her son's hand after playing outdoors, so she stuck his hand on a petri dish. The results are quite artful. Twitter/Screenshot

Who knew germs could look so good?

Whether it’s from jumping in muddy puddles, grabbing fistfuls of dirt or bugs in the park, or eating some food that’s dropped on the floor, it’s well known the extent to which kids get themselves dirty — and there’s really no stopping it either. At one point or another, they’ll find a way to be mischievous when their parents aren’t looking. All that playing in the dirt, though, often leads to handfuls of germs. And if you’re wondering how many germs, just look at the colorful bacteria, yeast, and other fungi that comprise an 8-year-old child’s handprint.

The child’s mother Tasha Sturm, a microbiology lab tech at Cabrillo College, posted the photo of the germy handprint to the app MicrobeWorld. With colors reminiscent of the 70s, the flora shows how dirty kids’ hands can be after playing outdoors — of course, the growths here accumulated after several days.

 

Sturm notes that some of the bacteria growing in the dish, such as Staphylococcus and Micrococcus are commonly found on the hand. She also said the large “blob” in the lower right corner of the handprint is likely a community of rod-shaped Bacillus, which is commonly found in dirt, and that many of the colored areas are likely yeast or some other kinds of fungi. In addition to these, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says many of the germs we get on our hands come from feces we touch directly or indirectly; they include Salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus.

Because so many of the germs of indistinguishable, washing hands is crucial for kids playing outside. Kids are especially susceptible to infections as they have weakened immune systems — it also isn’t unlikely that they’ll go home after playing and touch their eyes, faces, and noses, giving the bacteria an entryway to the inside of their bodies. The CDC suggests running your hands with clean, running water, then applying soap; lathering the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under yours nails; scrubbing all over for 20 seconds; and rinsing your hands clean with running water. You should dry your hands immediately with a clean towel or by air drying them to avoid recontamination.  

Loading...