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Bacteria's favorite hangouts
It's a given that shopping does damage to your wallet, but experts are now saying that it could also be harmful to your health.
Close quarters inside the stores, combined with dry heat, poor hygiene by other shoppers and less-than-ideal cleanliness inside many malls can equal a cold or more severe illnesses.
And though your body is designed to fight bacteria, it'll really get a workout during the next few months.
"The mucous of our nasal passages captures and clears dust, microbes and debris, but this process may be a little less efficient in dry, warm, recirculating air," said Betsey Dyer, biology professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and author of "A Field Guide to Bacteria." "If a person's nasal passages are already compromised with either a common cold or flu virus, a secondary infection of bacteria could settle in such as strep throat, pneumonia, bronchitis or whooping cough."
Learn how to protect yourself by knowing where the germs are and following our expert's tips on avoidance.
By Danielle Braff, Special to Tribune Newspapers
June 23, 2012