Next time you blow out those birthday candles, make a wish that you don’t catch anything — because all that huffing and puffing increases the amount of bacteria on a cake by 1,400 percent, a new study reveals.
Researchers at Clemson University made the gross discovery by scarfing down pizza — for authenticity — blowing out candles on an iced hunk of Styrofoam and then measuring bacterial contamination, according to the study published in the Journal of Food Research.
The amount varied a lot depending on who did the blowing, they found.
“Some people blow on the cake and they don’t transfer any bacteria. Whereas you have one or two people who really for whatever reason … transfer a lot of bacteria,” Professor Paul Dawson told The Atlantic.
The blowing increased the amount of bacteria on the frosting by an average of 15 times — although one person’s saliva increased the infestation by 120 times, he said.
But Dawson doesn’t think most birthday revelers are likely to get sick from the ceremonial tradition — if we did, it probably wouldn’t be such a popular pastime.
“It’s not a big health concern in my perspective,” he told The Atlantic. “In reality, if you did this 100,000 times, then the chance of getting sick would probably be very minimal.”
This article originally appeared in the New York Post