The traditional blowing up of candles at birthday parties can put guests at risk: a birthday cake topped with bacteria!
The presence of bacteria in the airways does not only exist in cases of illness. When people are sick, the amount of bacteria is only greater than when they are healthy. Some diseases of the respiratory tract are normally spread by sneezing, coughing, sharing of cutlery during a meal and blowing out candles on a cake.
A study by researchers in Clemson university found out that there was a significant increase in bacteria on cake icing after the candles were blown out. In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), issued a ban on blowing out candles at children's birthday parties because of the potential of spreading germs, suggesting each child has a personal cupcake instead that they could blow out candles on.