Life Advice



Ask Amy: Germ risks also contaminate relationships

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

What are the health risks? Maybe if we could explain it from a positive viewpoint, they might understand.

– Always Offended

Dear Offended: My instinct was that this wasn't really so harmful (despite the famous "double-dipping" episode of "Seinfeld" that has been burned into our collective memory). And then I did some checking.

The Food and Drug Administration referred me to a 2008 Clemson University study. The question researchers chose to answer is: "Does double-dipping actually spread bacteria and germs?" They assembled volunteers and used wheat crackers and dips. Ultimately, they found that in just a few double-dips, about 10,000 bacteria were transferred from the eater's mouth to the remaining dip. According to the director of the study, this is the rough equivalent of kissing someone on the mouth. If the person is carrying an infectious disease, it could possibly be transmitted to others. So, you have to ask yourselves, are you on kissing terms with your in-laws?

(April 2011)



(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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