I admit that I am somewhat of a germaphobe. it all started when I had kids. It is amazing how often you think about germs when you have kids. I feel like I am in a war.

Of course, I don’t win every battle, but I do my best to keep on the winning side of the war. I carry antibacterial gel in the car and encourage hand washing. I disinfect the doorknobs and toys during flu season. I don’t let the kids eat things that fall on the ground.

But one thing I really haven’t thought about is germs on clothes. I mean I know about bacteria on clothes, anyone who has ever smelled dirty laundry knows that there is bacteria on clothing, but what about viruses and other germs? Do I have to worry about them as well?

To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about germs on clothing until I was asked the question the other day: “Do you worry about germs on clothing?” Huh? Can you catch a cold from a sweatshirt?

With that question unanswered, I did a little research. There are a couple studies out there that show that neckties worn by doctors and their assistants at a New York hospital harbored disease causing bacteria that could be passed from patient to patient. There is also information about clothing carrying mold spores.

Another study showed that new clothing was teaming with all sorts of bacteria, including bacteria that is normally associated with feces, armpits and well, parts down below. That same study that was conducted at New York University Langone Medical Center found that at least one bug, the Norovirus, which causes gastrointestinal illness, can live on dry clothing for several days. All it takes is for someone to touch the clothing in a store with their hands to deposit the nasties. Another reason to wash all new clothing.

Still no information on the cold thing, but this warrants further investigation. Look for future posts about preventing illness from your clothing.

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