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When you blow out the candles on your next birthday cake, you might want to wish for not getting sick. Because according to a new study, all the huffing and puffing we do to get the candles out can increase the bacteria on a cake by 1,400%!
For the study, researchers at Clemson University had people chow down on pizza and then blow out candles on an iced hunk of Styrofoam. When they measured bacterial contamination, it varied a lot from person to person. “Some people blow on the cake and they don’t transfer any bacteria,” explains Professor Paul Dawson. “Whereas you have one or two people who for whatever reason … transfer a lot of bacteria.”
It turns out the blowing raises the amount of bacteria on the frosting an average of 15 times - but Dawson says one person’s saliva increased it by 120 times! And as nasty as that sounds, he doesn’t think most birthday cake eaters will actually get sick from all those germs.
“It’s not a big health concern in my perspective,” Dawson says. “In reality, if you did this 100,000 times, then the chance of getting sick would probably be very minimal.”
So all that candle blowing bacteria isn’t really something to worry about. But just try not to think about this the next time you watch some kid blowing out their birthday candles.
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