Health-wise: Why you shouldn't be blowing out candles on your birthday cake

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What happens is that a person is basically (unknowingly) spitting on the cake itself, contaminating it with thousands of bacteria

Every time someone turns a year older, it’s become customary for him or her to blow out the candle on the birthday cake.

It’s a tradition that most of the world has adapted. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine a birthday celebration without a birthday cake in one form or another sitting at the table.

But did you know that this custom is in reality very unsanitary?

In a study conducted by the Clemson University exposing the popular food myths—particularly whether or not the five-second rule holds up (it doesn't)—the subject of blowing the candles on birthday cakes was brought up.

“On the small cakes that still had their candles lit, there was on average 200 bacteria capable of forming colonies while the cakes that had their candles blown out had roughly 3000 bacteria.”

In simpler terms, what happens is that a person is basically (unknowingly) spitting on the cake itself, contaminating it with bacteria that is then transferred to other people once they eat the cake.

In fact, in Australia, its National Health and Welfare Council issued a warning against children blowing out candles together.

“Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are signing ‘Happy birthday,’” said a guidelines from the research council. “To prevent the spread of germs when the child blows out the candles, parents should either provide a separate cupcake, with a candle if they wish, for the birthday child.”

Although the new finding is useful information, not all parents are taking it well, provoking angry responses from parents who believe that the ‘nanny state’ is trying to take all the fun out of birthday parties.

President of the Australian Medical Association, Steve Hambleton, share the same sentiments.

“If somebody sneezes on a cake, I probably don’t want to eat it either—but if you’re blowing out candles, how many organisms are transferred to a communal cake, for goodness sake?” he said a Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

“It’s normal and healthy to be exposed to a certain amount of environmental antigens that building up our immune systems,” he added. “If you live in a plastic bubble you’re going to get infections (later in life) that you can’t handle.”

READ: 7 harmless things that can harm your children

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