Humans: secretly swapping spit since spit began. [PD] wikimedia

Humans: secretly swapping spit since spit began. [PD] wikimedia

Even strains of bacteria native to the “oral cavity and saliva” are more common in the air when you’re around.

If you really want to purge your house of microorganisms, put on a hazmat suit when you come in the door. Like Pigpen from the Peanuts comic, each of us schleps around in a groty cloud of  our own skin flakes, saliva spatter, and even nose bacteria.

Scientists monitored the air in a classroom to see where airborne bacteria might come from. They covered the floor with plastic to prevent old dust from rising up under foot traffic. And they found more life forms hanging in the human-fouled air than they measured outdoors in “nature.” Tiny beings native to the human hair, skin, spit, and nostrils all registered their presence.

Is this a problem? The authors seem to think we ought not to stew in each other’s zoology. But haven’t we always? And prior to the habit of frequent bathing, isn’t it likely we inhaled a whole lot more of each other? Just because we can now do a head count, should we suddenly be alarmed?


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