Health Team

Viruses, bacteria live on bills

Posted December 1, 2008

In this season of spending, a new study offers a warning for those who pay with cash. Researchers at the University of Arizona found that paper money can carry more germs than a household toilet.

"After you handle money, wash your hands," researcher Jonathan Sexton advises. "You just need to remember anytime you can reduce your exposure, you're reducing your risk of getting sick."

Viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces for about 48 hours, but the study showed paper money can carry a live flu virus for 17 days. Bills were a bigger problem than coins, because bacteria don't live nearly as long on metal surfaces.


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