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They may be popular fashion accessories, but those long nails, artificial or otherwise, can transmit bacteria

They may be popular fashion accessories, but those long nails, artificial or otherwise, can transmit bacteria. To prevent disease-causing bacteria from spreading to patients, the New York Presbyterian Hospital has recently banned health-care workers from wearing artificial nails, and has limited the length of natural nails to no longer than one-eight of an inch (three millimetres) past the fingertips.

Artificial nails in particular can increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections. Chipped nail polish is also a no-no because it can also harbour disease-causing microbes. For those who are able to keep long nails, it's important to wash your hands thoroughly, paying special attention to under the nails although, studies show, this does not entirely eliminate bacteria.

Source: mercola.com; American Journal of Infection Control, June 2002.

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