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Seemingly harmless items you shouldn’t borrow

Sharing is caring. But sometimes, it has grave effects. Forget the obvious ones of not lending toothbrushes and undergarments. Here’s a list of things that you shouldn’t share

1. Earphones

So your friend is listening to something interesting on his phone or laptop. And you want to hear the juicy details. Without much thought you take his earphones to have a taste of the information. Think twice. Each person has a unique bacterial flora balance in his or her earwax.

Whenever we share earphones, we risk disrupting this balance. This, in turn, may provoke an ear infection. The bacteria increases if you’re using headphones while exercising, because the added warmth and moisture makes it easier for bacteria to build up.

2. Lip gloss and lipstick

“She has a perfect lip colour,” you notice. The next thing you borrow her lipstick to see how it sits on you. Bad move. Diseases such as herpes can easily be transmitted through sharing lipstick or lip gloss.

Even if the affected person doesn’t have an obvious rash, the virus can still be present in the mouth’s mucous membrane and saliva. At the moment, there’s no 100 percent effective cure for herpes.

3. Hair clips and curlers

Many people know that lending your comb to another person is a bad idea. Well, the same applies to all hair accessories that come into contact with the scalp! Fungi and lice are easily spread by means of borrowed headbands, combs, scrunchies, or curlers.

4. Bath soap

It’s self-cleaning, right? Not really. After each use, the soap gets covered in organisms from your skin, ranging from harmless germs to dangerous pathogens. And it’s even worse if the soap sits in a wet dish, because moisture makes it easier for bacteria, fungi and viruses to grow.

5. Deodorants

Even with deodorants that have antibacterial properties, the surfaces that come into contact with the skin may contain bacteria. After all, it’s the bacteria that cause the smell of sweat, which we are trying to neutralise.

6. Pumice stones

Pumice stones are literally full of gross dead skin from rough heels and soles, so you probably wouldn’t want to share. But the stones can also transmit fungus or even some strains of Human papillomavirus (HPV) that lead to plantar warts. Pumice stones are often the culprit for spreading plantar warts between family members, so after only one use someone’s feet can be covered in warts.

7. Nail clippers

Clippers pose a risk because they’re used where warts and fungus hide out on our fingers, toes, and soles. Sharing them could lead to nail fungus or even types of HPV that cause plantar warts. You can wipe the clippers in alcohol after each use, but you should probably just keep them to yourself.

8. Earrings

It’s possible to transmit blood-borne infections this way. So, it’s best to keep earrings to yourself or at least remember to sanitise the earring posts with alcohol before and after sharing.

9. Anything in a jar such as petroleum jelly and face cream

Every time anyone dips their fingers in, new germs contaminate the entire jar so, they go onto the skin or face of whoever uses the product next. This can spread bacteria like streptococcus or staphylococcus, which can cause folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) and acne. The best thing to do is avoid double dipping, and if you have to share, do it using a clean cotton swab.

10. Indoor flip-flops

You shouldn’t borrow a friend’s pair. It’s easy for the fungus and bacteria from a person’s foot to live on the shoe, especially if the shoes are often wet, such as shower shoes. It’s possible to transmit athlete’s foot, warts through sharing flip-flops.

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