How often do you wash your towels? The minimum number of times you should to avoid risks
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Bathroom towels are exposed to a great number of disease-causing bacteria such as escherichia coli (E.coli) and salmonella, previous research has shown. Some of these bacterial strains can cause diarrhoea diseases or bloodstream infections. Washing your bathroom towels a certain amount of times per week, however, may prevent infection from these serious bacteria.
In previous research, E.coli was found residing on a great number of towels sampled, suggesting they may be dirtier than we think.
While the majority of E.coli infections are mild and do not lead to serious health problems, some strains can cause life-threatening complications.
Complications related to the bacteria include haemolytic uremic syndrome, which is known to lead to kidney failure and death.
The haemolytic uremic syndrome occurs when red blood cells are destroyed, and block the kidney’s filtering system.
Some of the initial warning signs include pale colour, including loss of pink colour in the cheeks and inside the lower eyelids, shortness of breath and unexplained bruising.
Several studies have suggested towels may harbour more germs than are found inside a toilet, which has roughly 295 bacteria per square inch.
WebMD explains: “Damp towels are a breeding ground for bacteria, yeasts, mould, and viruses.
“A dirty towel can cause toenail fungus, jock itch, athlete’s foot and warts. Yikes! To avoid this, change or launder your towel at least once a week and make sure it dries between uses.
“Hang it and spread it out on a towel bar rather than from a hook to help it dry quicker.
“Wash towels more often when you’re sick and if your home is human, like during the summer.”
Jock itch is a fungal condition that causes red and itchy skin in warm and moist areas of the body.
It most generally occurs in the groin and inner thighs and is shaped like a ring, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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While fungal diseases can affect anyone, these are most likely to affect individuals with dryer skin, who may benefit from washing towels more often.
The biggest risks also come from cuts or abrasions or dry skin, which let microbes into your system.
The NHS explains: “Germs on clothes and towels can come from our own body. We all have bacteria on the surface of our skin, in our noses and in our gut.
“These are often harmless, but some can cause infection, particularly in people with skin problems and wounds.”
Moist towels are a breeding ground for MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus.
While the majority of staph bacteria are harmless, they have been known to cause serious infections that can lead to sepsis or death.
These types of infections are typically spread in hospitals or other healthcare facilities, or in schools.
Adequate cleaning of towels, at least once a week, can prevent their surface from becoming a reservoir for deadly bacteria.
Towels should also be washed thoroughly as these bacteria can survive most regular detergents.
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