We live in a society where we fear bacteria, and somewhat rightly so. There are some nasty, antibiotic resistant strains out there. This fear causes people to use antibacterial products, like soaps and hand sanitizers, that actually contribute to the problem. They don’t make our immune systems stronger, and simple hand washing is the best practice.
Bacteria is unavoidable. Especially indoors.
A new study has found “human occupancy was associated with substantially increased airborne concentrations” of bacteria.
Discovery News reports:
Just one person in a room adds 37 million bacteria to the air every hour, according to a study published in the journal Indoor Air.
Most of the bacteria is stirred up from the floor, left behind by the room’s prior occupants.
“We live in this microbial soup, and a big ingredient is our own microorganisms,” Jordan Peccia, associate professor of environmental engineering at Yale and the principal investigator of the study, said in a press release.
“Mostly people are re-suspending what’s been deposited before. The floor dust turns out to be the major source of the bacteria that we breathe.”…
At least it’s good news that few of the microorganisms commonly found indoors are infectious, he said, but added, “All those infectious diseases we get, we get indoors.”
Given that most Americans spend more than 90 percent of their time inside, it’s no wonder we’re often sick.
It is good news that most of this bacteria is harmless, but it is astounding that we spend 90% of our time inside. For more reasons than just avoiding bacteria, we need to be outdoors!
Our kids especially need to be playing in outside, both at home and school. This study was conducted in a university classroom, so you can imagine the level of bacteria in an elementary school classroom would be even greater. One more reason recess and PE programs should get kids outside during the school day.