Lifewatch: Purse germs

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Many women don't leave home without their purse, but that must-have accessory could be carrying more than lipstick.

When a purse is not in your hands, just think of all the places it's put: a shopping cart, a sticky floor of a movie theater, or even the floor of a public restroom.

Germs can collect on the bottom of your purse and possibly contaminate your home.

To discover what germs are making their way into the house, several women agreed to have their purses swabbed for bacteria.  The samples were put on petri dishes and left to grow.

"These are the incubators, and they warm the plates to 37-degrees because that's body temperature and what bacteria likes for a growing environment," said medical technician Rhonda Molde.

Four days later results showed different amounts of bacteria on three different purses, but none of the bacteria found is the kind that can make you sick in small amounts.

Mostly staph and bacillus bacteria was found, which are commonly seen on our skin and in the soil.  Even if they came in contact with our food, the doctor says the only risk is to people with a weakened immune system.

"We hear so much about things that can make you sick that people don't realize that bacteria is all around you, and most of them don't make you sick," said clinical scientist Dr. Holly Alexander.

If the thought of that bacteria in your home turns your stomach, many stores now sell purse hooks that can help keep your bag off the floor.