December 7, 2023

Surprising Bacteria Source: Wash Your Wrist Bands!

A new study from Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of science reveals a surprising bacteria source: your wrist band. If you wear a watch, you should wash your wrist bands regularly.

Surprising Bacteria Source: Wash Your Wrist Bands!

Most people do not clean wristbands. The researchers tested plastic, rubber, cloth, metal, and leather wristbands to see if there is a correlation between the material the wrist bands are made of and the level of contamination. They also clarified the best way to disinfect them.

The results of the study, which were published in the journal Advances in Infectious Diseases, suggested that metal wristbands are cleaner. In spite of the fact that 95% of all wristbands tested were contaminated, gold and silver bands had little or no bacteria.

Nwadiuto Esiobu, Ph.D., senior author and a professor of biological sciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science said in a statement, “The worst offenders were rubber and plastic wrist bands. Plastic and rubber wristbands may provide a more appropriate environment for bacterial growth as porous and static surfaces tend to attract and be colonized by bacteria.”

The most important predictors of contamination are the texture of the band material and the activity level of the subject when the samples were taken.

Bacteria found on the wristbands belonged to the genera Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and E. coli. Staphylococcus bacteria were found on 85% of the wristbands, Pseudomonas on 30%, and E. coli on 60%. People who were just at the gym had wrist bands with the highest staphylococcal counts.

Esiobu added, “The quantity and taxonomy of bacteria we found on the wristbands show that there is a need for regular sanitation of these surfaces. Even at relatively low numbers these pathogens are of public health significance. Importantly, the ability of many of these bacteria to significantly affect the health of immunocompromised hosts indicates a special need for health care workers and others in hospital environments to regularly sanitize these surfaces.”

So what should you use to wash your wrist bands? The researchers found that Lysol Disinfectant Spray and sprays with 70% ethanol were very effective at cleaning all wrist band materials, with a 99.99% kill rate in 30 seconds. Other disinfectants were most effective when they were left on the wrist bands for two minutes.

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