Dirty Money: Is Money Making You Sick?

Do you think the interest rates on your credit card are crappy? Well, there may be even more crap lingering on your credit card. A recent study actually showed that one in seven banknotes and credit cards in Birmingham, UK had feces and e.coli bacteria on the surface. While poo-covered credit cards are certainly disgusting, credit cards are also likely to carry the rhinovirus. In fact, 78% of banknotes and 80% of credit cards contain traces of the bacteria. But, what does all this mean to the average spender?

Think about the times when you’ve been struggling with several bags and your debit card. There’s probably at least one time you’ve placed the card between your lips to free up your hands. This means you’re exposed yourself to some pretty nasty germs. Even if you’re not apt to place your card in your mouth, think about the times you’ve paid for a meal and then sat down and started eating. Yep, you’re moving that food to your mouth with hands that are possibly covered in poo. Talk about a major ick-factor.

Not only is dirty money gross, it can make your horribly ill. E.coli can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and  nausea. The symptoms can last up to two weeks, but usually subside after one week. However, there are those that don’t experience any symptoms, but may pass the bacteria on to others. As for the rhinovirus, this is what’s know as the common cold. You’ll experience sneezing, runny nose, headaches, a sore throat, and other typical cold symptoms. With the average adult having 2-4 colds per year, you have to wonder how many of those colds were the result of dirty money.

The good news is there are a number of ways to protect yourself from dirty money. First of all, always wash your hands before eating. You should also avoid touching your face when handling money. This means that if you work in a job where you handle money throughout the day, you will want to keep hand sanitizer nearby and use it frequently.

Put simply, dirty money isn’t just obtained through criminal acts. There’s actually a good chance that most of the money you come in contact with is dirty. With up to 17% of money and credit cards carrying traces of feces and 78-80% carrying the rhinovirus, you need to practice good hygiene and wash your hands whenever handling money.