Germ and Bacteria Hot-Spots: 12 Things You Should Know
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Bunking with Bacteria
Claim: If you've had the same pillow for years, you're bunking with billions of bacteria.
True. But don't lose any sleep over it. The organisms found on pillows are normally harmless bacteria that live on your skin. "You're more likely to become uncomfortable sleeping on a pillow before you reach a point where you're going to get a serious infection from it," says Brown. Plus, pillows themselves aren't breeding grounds for germs: Bacteria need something to live on to multiply, and they can't do that on the materials in pillows (including the stuffing). Worst-case scenario: If you've got a staph infection with a boil, you could reinfect yourself or transfer it, says Brown. "But the chances are low if the pillow has a clean case, which provides a barrier." Wash pillowcases once a week and pillows regularly (most can go in the washing machine). You can change your pillow every five or six years, but experts suggest this for comfort reasons.
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