A biologist has shared an eye-catching photo showing just how many germs there are living on the average child’s hand.
Tasha Sturm posts the bacteria-rich handprint online after asking her eight year-old son to press his hand on a Petri dish after playing outside.
The white microbes are believed to be potentially dangerous Staphylococcus, which can cause skin infections, toxic shock syndrome, tummy bugs or food poisoning.
Meanwhile, the yellow and orange spots believed to be yeast, while the large white blob is believed to be some kind of contaminant.
Tasha said her findings shouldn’t alarm anyone, and that they demonstrate just how effective our skin is at keeping nasties out.
She added: ‘It’s normal stuff that we’re exposed to every day. The skin protects us from a lot of the bad stuff out there.
‘The take home message is that to have a healthy immune system, you’ve got to be exposed to stuff.’
Tasha conducted the experiment in Spring 2015, by asking her son to play outside and pet the family dog.
When he came back inside, she helped him push his hand into an agar plate – a sterile Petri dish filled with a chemical that encourages the growth of bacteria.
She then waited a week before taking the photo.
Scientists have long insisted that children should be exposed to dirt and germs to help build their immune systems.
Some experts have even speculated that children constantly kept in spotlessly clean conditions are more likely to end up with allergies.