Courtesy of PurellKate Sullivan, Allure magazine
They are prolific, disgusting, and phobia-inducing-yet they are also immunity builders. Below, some facts that will make you want to wash your hands immediately.
36 B.C.: Year Italian scholar Marcus Terentius Varro published a theory that swamps may breed illness because of "minute creatures that cannot be seen by the eyes."
See more: Top 21 Drugstore Beauty Bargains
590: Year Pope Gregory I invented a post-sneeze prayer-"God bless you"-as sneezing was considered an early sign of the plague.
3: Number of times a day Henry VIII of England ordered that the walls and floors of his son Edward's rooms be washed to prevent illness. Edward died, likely of tuberculosis, at age 15.
18: Percentage of women who died in childbirth at a Viennese hospital in the seventeenth century. When Ignaz Semmelweis, an obstetrician there, made doctors wash their hands with chlorinated limewater before examining pregnant women, the mortality rate dropped to
Read More »from Germs, a History