Men with beards carry more bacteria… than dogs!

Swiss researchers have launched this information by discovering more germs and bacteria in men’s beards than in dog hair. Let’s take a look at this study and put it into perspective.


Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland wanted to look at how diseases were transmitted from dogs to humans. In this study, they came to the conclusion that men’s beards contained more germs and bacteria (some of them very dangerous to health) than canine fur.


The study that led to this discovery

In this study, researchers compared the amount of bacteria present in 2 types of samples. Those taken from the beards of 18 men aged 18 to 76 years. And those from the necks of 30 dogs of different breeds. « Our study shows a significantly higher bacterial load in the men’s beards than in the dogs’ fur. All of the participants had high microbial colony counts, whereas only 23 of the 30 dogs did: 7 had moderate microbial colony counts. »


More pathogens in humans

This study shows above all that pathogenic microorganisms (i.e. harmful to health) were found in 7 of the 18 men. On the dogs’ side, these harmful micro-organisms were only found on the coat of 4 dogs out of the 30 observed. The observation of the oral cavity is not more encouraging since there too, it is in men that the most microbes are found. Thus, the authors of the research conclude that dogs are cleaner than bearded men.


The reactions were not long in coming

First of all, the result of this study made the founder of the British group Beard Liberation Front, Keith Flett, react. He believes that the beard is not dirtier than the hands or hair. End that the results would have been the same if the object of the study had been these parts of the body rather than the beard. He regrets that bearded people are attacked from all sides by comments like this and even calls this study pogonophobic (which is the opposite of pogonophilia).



A bit of a quick read

If a rather quick reading of the study can lead one to think that all men’s beards are dirtier than dogs’ coats, the reality is quite different. Two elements must be questioned: the size of the sample and the real level of danger represented by the results.

First of all, it is enough to look at the size of the sample to see that it can in no way be representative of the whole population of bearded people. This is indeed what this article from the newspaper Le Monde indicates, which underlines that a study on 18 people is too small a sample to be able to draw a general law from it. The study is based on the fact that … If all the bearded men tested have a significant number of bacteria … It was the same for only 23 dogs out of 30.

It is especially necessary to reduce this figure to the number of potentially pathogenic bacteria and in the sample. They are only 7 bearded men to have it against 4 on the side of the dogs’ coat. Indeed, not all bacteria are bad for human organisms. The treatment of this result is thus oriented and pushes to make fear.

Finally, it is necessary to recall the initial objective of the study. Which was to determine whether it was prudent … For hygienic reasons … To use the same scanner to examine humans and dogs. The conclusion of this study is that. The use of a scanner by dogs and humans does not present any risk for human health. It is therefore not the dogs that increase the risk of danger to patients … But the lack of hygiene in hospitals.


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