Baby's cookie or binky falls on the floor. If you pick it
up in five seconds, it's still OK, right?
Wrong, says Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the
infection prevention and control program at Loyola University
Health System in a news release. "A dropped item is immediately
contaminated and can't really be sanitized," he says.
All items that come into contact with a surface pick up bacteria
(and dirt!). How much and what kind depends on what was dropped
Odds are, though, no harm will occur. Still, Parada says
you are rolling the dice.
What about using your own mouth to "clean off" a dropped
"That is double-dipping; you are exposing yourself to
bacteria and you are adding your own bacteria" to the
"When it comes to folklore, the `five-second rule' should
be replaced with `When in doubt, throw it out,'" he
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