Diet & Nutrition

Women carry more bacteria on hands than men

A US study has found that women carry a far greater number of bacteria on the palms of their hands than men, and that washing them in fact has little impact on the diversity of bacteria we carry.

The findings revealed that not only do human hands in general have a far greater range of bacteria on them than previously believed, but that also women had on average 50 per cent more bacteria species on their hands than their male counterparts.
The researchers, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, analysed 102 human hands and found over 4,700 different types of bacteria. Just five of these were shared among all 51 participants and only 17 per cent of the same bacteria type was shared by both an individual's left and right palms.
According to lead researcher Dr Noah Fierer, the distinction between the range of bacteria on men and women's hands could partly be due to the naturally higher levels of acidity in men's skin, which provide too harsh a living environment for many of the bug species.
The study also found that after hand-washing some groups of bacteria were less abundant while others were in fact more so. Despite this, the researchers said that washing with anti-bacterial cleansers was still an effective way to minimise the risk of disease. The anti-bacterial agents seemed particularly to target those bugs which are most harmful to our health.

YOUR SAY: How conscious are you of the bacteria you carry around on your hands? Tell us below!

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