Women Have More Germs Than Men


See, I always knew girls had cooties. I just knew it.

Women have a greater variety of bacteria on their hands than men do, a study has found.

And everybody has more types of bacteria than the researchers expected to find.

”One thing that really is astonishing is the variability between individuals, and also between hands on the same individual,” said Rob Knight, a University of Colorado biochemistry assistant professor who was among the researchers.

”The sheer number of bacteria species detected on the hands of the study participants was a big surprise, and so was the greater diversity of bacteria we found on the hands of women,” said lead researcher Noah Fierer, an assistant professor in Colorado’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology.

They aren’t sure why women harbor a greater variety of bacteria than men. Fierer thinks it might have to so with the acidity of their skin. Knight said men generally have more acidic skin than women. Other possibilities include differences in sweat and oil gland production, the frequency of moisturizer or cosmetics applications, skin thickness and hormone production, he said.

So, should guys worry about holding hands with girls? ”I guess it depends on which girl,” Knight said.

He emphasized that ”the vast majority of the bacteria we have on our body are either harmless or beneficial . . . the pathogens are a small minority.”

The researchers took samples from the palms of 51 college students and tested the samples using a system for detecting bacteria DNA. They identified 4,742 species of bacteria, only 5 of which were on every hand. The study was in Monday’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The average hand harbored 150 species of bacteria.

The left and right hands of the same individual shared only about 17 percent of the same bacteria types, the researchers found.

While the researchers emphasized the importance of regular hand-washing, they also noted that washing did not eliminate bacteria.

”Either the bacterial colonies rapidly re-establish after hand-washing, or washing . . . does not remove the majority of bacteria taxa found on the skin surface,” they wrote.

Unfortunately the instinctive defense mechanism which allows male infants to recognize cooties is suppressed in the subconscious during puberty and they are no longer able to see the true danger. A danger that ultimately leaves them with permanent damage in the form of polygamy (and in the most severe cases marriage), in-laws, mortgage payments, a loss of male friendships, and sexual frustration.



  1. Maybe that’s because we’re either cleaning up after, doing the laundry of, or touching MEN.

  2. You keep wishing, you cootie-carrier. Where’s the damn Lysol?

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