Biting your nails might seem like a minor bad habit. The frequency of
the habit might lead you to believe that it’s no big deal. However, it
might surprise you to know that there are some truly nasty (and
dangerous) infections that can result from biting your nails.
Here are five common infections that are even riskier for nail-biting:
1. Staphylococcus aureus
You might have heard of staphylococcus bacteria before. Medical
professionals often refer to it as a staph infection – and it’s not a
Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria frequently found
in the nails of nail -biters, according to BetterHealth Untreated, this
bacteria can do all these things:
Cause the growth of boils or abscesses on the skin
- Causes respiratory infections
- Cause symptoms like those of food poisoning (in fact, it’s a common culprit in food poisoning, according to the CDC)
One of the most problematic facts about staphylococcus aureus is
that there are antibiotic-resistant strains of it, including
methicillin-resistant s. aureus which can be fatal.
2. Escherichia coli
More commonly known as E. coli, this nasty bacterium is one that’s often
implicated in outbreaks of illness across the United States. It’s
commonly found in the lower intestines and is present in feces according
to WebMD. Many of the E. coli contaminations come from not washing your
Even if you wash your hands carefully after you use the
bathroom, you can still end up with E. coli underneath your nails. If
you then put your fingers in your mouth to finish off that hangnail, you
run the risk of moving the bacteria into your body.
One strain of E. coli, known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli, can be life-threatening.
3. Herpetic whitlow
Herpetic whitlow is caused by the same herpes simplex virus (HSV) that
causes cold sores (Approximately 40% of all adults have oral herpes and
carry the herpes virus). If you stick your fingers in your mouth, you
risk transmitting the virus to your fingers. Once it’s there, it can