Blowing Out Birthday Candles Is a Bad Idea, and Science Explains Why
It is hard to believe, but even such an innocent thing as a birthday cake with colorful candles can hide some dangers. We bet that when you see it, you are only thinking of making a wish and blowing out those small candles in front of the people you love the most. But you probably never thought about what happens when you do it, and a new study might make you think twice before taking a delicious piece.
Bright Side isn’t sure if we have to change our traditions with birthday cakes forever, that’s why we decided to explore this topic in more detail.
It doesn’t seem like the news we've all been waiting for. And to be honest, we have never thought about it. All this atmosphere of celebration, happiness, and joy doesn’t quite match with the thoughts about bacteria being around. But scientists explored this idea and found out that there might be about 1,500% more germs on the cake if blowing out the candles is an essential part of your party.
To prove this, the researchers used faux birthday cakes. They put candles into them through a piece of foil with real icing. Before blowing the candles out the participant ate pizza to create the scenario of having an ordinary meal and then dessert.
Next step was bacteria counting. The scientists added sterilized water to the icing and spread it out on agar plates to let the germs grow. The results are pretty shocking: on average, blowing the candles out increased the number of bacteria by almost 15 times. And in some cases even by 120 times!
This means that the results can vary from person to person. Some people transfer an ocean of bacteria, while others don’t. Scientists also note that this isn’t such a big health concern. Try to remember how many times you went through it and how many times you got sick afterward. We think that it probably never happened or maybe just happened once or twice — not a very significant and convincing reason to turn a piece of birthday cake down.
So, it’s generally safe to eat birthday cake, even when we know about such an impressive study. But our common sense can probably tell us that it is better to avoid sharing cake if a candle-blower is clearly unwell. Try to enjoy a fruit plate or other wrapped sweets instead if high temperature and a sore throat isn’t your goal for the coming weekend.
Have you ever gotten ill after a birthday party? Do you think the birthday cake is the one to blame?
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me