Pacifiers Teem with Staph and Other Germs

By Lisa Collier Cool Nov 05, 2012 1.9k Recommend

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Pacifiers—used by up to 85 percent of American babies—can be tainted with millions of harmful germs and fungi, from Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella

like a sponge. including colic. Glass. The Best Air-Purifying Plants for Your Home .” which soak up food and water. “Under a microscope.D. but they often think nothing of picking a pacifier up off the floor at a mall and popping it back in their baby‟s mouth. according to a new study presented at the 2012 American Society for Clinical Pathology Annual Meeting. particularly on an oral device. allergies and asthma. “It‟s important for parents to realize pacifiers are easily contaminated—and to do a better job of keeping them clean in order to protect their baby‟s health. and athletic mouth guards. who has also studied dentures. Oklahoma. Once a biofilm forms. The 11 Dirtiest Places in Your Home Pacifiers Are Soothing But Often Unsanitary “Parents wouldn‟t eat with a dirty fork.” staph A superbugs that cause hard-to-treat skin and other infections. says Dr. DDS. boosting risk for ear infections and GI problems. orthodontic retainers. Some pathogens found on pacifiers in the study have also been linked to heart disease.” says Dr.” A contaminated pacifier grows a biofilm. metabolic syndrome. It‟s very difficult to get rid of a biofilm. the researchers report. and MRSA. once it forms. “Pacifiers have some benefits—and may reduce risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)—but the downside is that they may expose babies to alarmingly high levels of dangerous bacteria. it can change the balance of microbes in a baby‟s mout h and spark inflammation.. pacifiers are full of porosities. Pathology. reports study coauthor R. Glass. toothbrushes. including antibiotic resistant Klebsiella. and Dental Medicine at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. Ph.pneumoniae to mold. thus creating an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi to form colonies. which causes pneumonia. Tom Glass. a slimy. professor of Forensic Sciences. glue-like coating that makes bacteria become increasingly resistant to both antibiotics and detergent.

a child‟s immune system isn‟t fully developed until age six to 12. or less commonly. „Why take . To cause disease. I say. The binky nipples and shields were minced and placed in lab dishes designed to grow any bacteria or fungi present on pacifiers. Glass. “I was shocked at how contaminated some of the pacifiers were: Not only was the bacterial load alarmingly high. including MRSA. or bone infections. even healthy people can harbor staph germs on their skin or in their nose without getting sick. And even then. never-used control pacifiers. says Dr. or pneumonia. who advises against pacifier use. with levels of up to 100 million colony-forming units (CFUs) per gram. Glass. Are Binkies Making Babies Sick? While the bacteria levels found were more than enough to cause serious illness. all of the babies were in good health when the pacifiers were collected. In all. points out Dr. In addition. burrow deeper into the body to trigger bloodstream. The results were compared to seven new. However. “After doing the study. 13 types of fungi and 40 types of bacteria were detected on the used pacifiers. but the most heavily contaminated pacifier contained four different types of staph bacteria. with the cultures examined at 24 and 48 hours. such as boils. joint. The new binkies had less than 100 CFUs. staph bacteria must penetrate the skin or tissue (which could occur through a cut or as a tooth breaks through the gums during teething).Bacterial Levels of Up to 100 Million Per Gram The researchers collected 10 used pacifiers of different designs from healthy babies at a pediatric clinic. minced and cultured in the same manner. Five pacifiers were lightly contaminated with bacteria and fungi. Staph A bacteria can cause skin infections. the immune system may be able to fight off infection. while the other five were heavily tainted. a level that is deemed sanitary.” a superbug that is resistant to methicillin and similar antibiotics. and cellulitis. impetigo.

or soak them in denturecleaning solution or baking soda solution (one teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 8 ounces of water). • Bring several pacifiers. according to a 2006 study published in British Medical Journal. What’s the Best Way to Sanitize Pacifiers? If you choose to use pacifiers. so they don‟t grow a disease-causing biofilm. If they‟re used during sleep. For more information on pacifier risks and benefits. risk for sudden infant death syndrome drops by 90 percent. stored in a clean baggie. • Wash pacifiers with dish soap and water. higher risk for ear infections.a chance when pacifiers can cause illness?‟” Reduced Risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome However. greater likelihood of developing crooked teeth. The researchers advise these precautions: • Any time a pacifier pops out of a baby‟s mouth. • Replace pacifiers every 2 weeks. so you have spares if one is dropped or soiled. Drawbacks include breastfeeding problems or early weaning. then air dry. Along with reducing SIDS risk. there are easy ways to protect your baby‟s health. pacifiers also relieve pain from minor procedures (like vaccinations). no matter where it lands. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that pacifiers may be beneficial during the first six months of life. click here. The reasons aren‟t yet understood. to avoid reinfection. pacifiers have one surprising health benefit. it should be cleaned. and in toddlers. along with soothing colicky babies. on outings. . Also replace your baby‟s pacifiers after an illness.

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