Kate Ng | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 9 July 2015

Festival Wristbands Can Give You Boils, Food Poisoning - And UTIs

Festival Wristbands Can Give You Boils, Food Poisoning - And UTIs

The Debrief: Those badges of honour you're wearing from every festival you've ever been to since 2010? Don't touch anything. Take those bacteria-infested things off right now.

Good news for everyone who’s tired of Glasto-goers smugly waving their wristbands in your face – those bits of cloth are now bacteria festivals holding bacteria orgies and making bacteria babies. It’s gross. Really, really gross. 

According to a study conducted by the University of Surrey, festival wristbands can contain more than 20 times the amount of bacteria found on clothes that are regularly washed. Researchers tested the bands of a festival-goer who’d been wearing them since 2013 and found 2,000 staphylococci and around 9,000 micrococci – two types of bacteria.

Dr Alison Cottell, microbiology professor at the University of Surrey, said: ‘Although these bacteria are normally found on skin, there was a surprisingly high number growing from the wristband.’

Staphylococci can cause boils and infect cuts or lesions. In extreme (but rare) cases, they can cause septicaemia. If that’s not eww enough, those little buggers can also cause acute food poisoning if ingested. 

Micrococci are normally found on the body anyway, but a certain subgroup of the bacteria can cause UTIs – so to be on the safe side, do not, we repeat, do not let anyone’s grubby wristbands near your lady parts.

‘It would be advisable not to wear them if working in industries such as healthcare or food preparation, where there’s a risk that the bacteria may spread to other people,’ Dr Cottell warns. So don’t let them near your food, either.

We’ve all worn festival wristbands as a sort of ‘badge of honour’, but please for the love of all that is good and clean, take the bloody things off. Encase them in a resin plaque instead, like this guy, and use it to smash your way through crowds at the next festival.

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Tags: Festivals