Licks? Or Ick?

Family Health
on April 30, 2009

Myth: Letting a dog lick your face can lead to bacterial infections.

Fact: It's true that dogs' mouths can't exactly be classified as clean, considering their penchant for garbage rummaging and their uncouth way of greeting fellow canines. What's more, several recent reports have said that dogs carry bacteria like salmonella, Lyme disease and even MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant staph infection that made headlines last year. But there's no need to ban all canine kisses just yet. You're more likely to catch a cold from another person than you are to pick up harmful germs from a dog, says Holli Senior, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. That's because the bacteria in Fido's mouth prefer to live on dogs, and probably won't last long enough on your cheek to do any harm. If you're still not convinced, just rinse your hands and face after a particularly sloppy bonding session.

Found in: Family Health