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I recently discovered I have a staph infection earlier today, I was wondering if its possible It transferred from the clay to me? since staph is usually found in dirt. (clay also?)  Ive heard about not sharing clays in public studios due to spreading illnesses. I have a personal studio and this clay has been recycled many times. 

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I'm gonna say doubtful. But I'll ask microbiologist tommorrow. Now mold growth different story. The window in which bacteria proliferate is limited. For staph aureus and the like would need more than clay has to offer. Food source , aerobic environment (most), temperature, ph.

 

Most moist clays are come from processed clays. And bacteria would be hard pressed to stay alive. Through the dry process.

 

Let's say you inoculate your moist clay with staph, could it stay alive very long and multiply, enough to cause yourself illness doubtful

 

If in doubt a bit a bit of dilute bleach spray in your clay bags and around studio will prolly kill most pathogens. Including MRSA.versa,

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Staph is literally everywhere, it even normally grows in and on your body. Chances are that you picked up this particular strain from Somone else that had an infection. Places of infection include the gym, healthcare settings, and any place that many people will make multiple consecutive skin contacts with the same surfaces with little to no cleaning in between.

Chris Campbell likes this

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Now that sounds like a great post graduate study project. If you live near an University you could see if any microbiology majors or pottery majors need a research idea. If you want to do it yourself, take samples of your different clays to your PCP (primary care provider) who can send it for bacterial culture. You could also ask your health dept to test it for you.

 

If you want to reduce the spread of staph in your studio, bleach wipes are great to wash down surfaces. Throw away your antibacterial soaps. They make the problems worse.

 

Unless you are otherwise allergic, ask your PCP for Bactroban ointment. Apply to lesions and nostrils three times a day until all sores are healed.

 

Good luck,

 

Jed Gardner M.D.

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Staph is literally everywhere, it even normally grows in and on your body. Chances are that you picked up this particular strain from Somone else that had an infection. Places of infection include the gym, healthcare settings, and any place that many people will make multiple consecutive skin contacts with the same surfaces with little to no cleaning in between.

I agree 100% ... Staph is everywhere, on everyone ... same as bacteria, germs, viruses ... and clay is 'dirty' ( sorry for the pun) ... full of all kinds of stuff ... and no, don't haul it into your doctor for bacterial testing because the answer will be YES because it is organic and earth ... also, if you do haul in dirt samples to your over worked GP, you might be sent for a different kind of testing.

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Yes those letters are real.  As Chris said staph is everywhere. Anywhere mold and midew grows, bacteria will be there competing for food. 

 

Not all staph is created equal.  Staph epidermatis is a normal bacteria that is on everyone's skin.  It rarely causes problems and there is no reason to get rid of it unless you are headed into surgery.  Most of the bacteria on our skin is protective. They compete with the bad actors like Methicillin resistant Staphalococcus aureas, knowm as MRSA.  The overuse of antibacterial soaps have created the MRSA outbreaks we see today.

 

There have been many articles showing that playing in the dirt as a child is protective.  In fact children who play in the dirt have fewer allergies as adults.  One could make the arguement that potters should have a better immune system because of their clay exposure.

 

If someone brought samples of clay into my InstaCare I would love to do the testing. It would break my routine of colds, flues, broken bones.  It could probably be written up as an interesting case study looking at what bacteria is found in ceramics and if pottery would be protective against bad bacteria like MRSA.

 

Although I have had a little old lady bring in over 100 jars of fecal material, so I could "examine it all."  And yes Chris I did "have the nice young men in their clean white shirts come and take her away." 

 

 

Jed

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.........."have the nice young men in their clean white shirts come and take her away."

 

Ah... somone who remembers that song.....ha ha hee hee and they're comint to take me away ho ho.

 

best,

 

..............................john

 

PS:  M.D. AND a potter ......... duly impressed here. :)

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Clay is cheap, treatment for MRSA is not. I had to be hospitalized for it last year $3800 after insurance. Yes staph is everywhere, and you can pick it up all over the place, but if you think your clay is a vector, throw it out and get new clay. Above all else though, bleach the heck out of your workspace, home space, etc.

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Clay is cheap, treatment for MRSA is not. I had to be hospitalized for it last year $3800 after insurance. Yes staph is everywhere, and you can pick it up all over the place, but if you think your clay is a vector, throw it out and get new clay. Above all else though, bleach the heck out of your workspace, home space, etc.

 

I throw away all my slop clay form trimming and throwing. It isn't that I don't want to recycle it, but I have a compromised immune system, I can't be using clay that has sat in water for while. I 2nd what Tristan says, if your worried about germs just throw it away, its cheap. I reckon I throw away 5-6 lbs a week from trimmings and slop from my wheel bucket, but in the cost of things its a few dollars to keep myself from working with smelly old clay that makes me nervous. If I was normal it wouldn't bother me a bit, but it does knowing that some could splash in my mouth or eye or something and give me a nice infection.

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Some researchers feel that bacteria and clay, kaolin specifically, are inseparable. In fact,the formation OF kaolin may be from the elemental digestive process of bacterial action on minerals such as silica. This field of research is called geomicrobiology, and it's pretty fascinating reading, actually. The increase in plasticity that comes from aging clay is actually a bacterial formation of slime which coats and creates bridges between minerals. Electron micrographs actually show the bacterial slime forming little mineralized bridges, with the bacteria integral to the structure. When you throw such clay, the plasticity is the slime, which creates physical slide and stickiness at the same time. Neat.

 

To reiterate, any moist clay, slop buckets in particular, are teeming vats of microbes of surprisingly diverse types. E. coli? Got it. Staph, strep, klebsiella--you bet. Not to mention fungi, protozoa, (swimmy little critters), and I don't have a reason why viruses aren't in the mix. Let's be complete by adding the bacteria that cause tetanus.

 

So, yes community clay can be contaminated by someone with MRSA. Yes people who are immunosuppressed for any reason can get serious infections from moist clay of any source. I'm always shocked when I hear otherwise well intentioned teachers tell students that there is nothing in clay that can hurt you.

 

However, if you're relatively healthy, just treat it like something you shouldn't drink and wash your hands after working in it. If you have open sores, wear gloves or use some antibiotic ointment as suggested by my colleague above. If you poke yourself with something sharp (anyone use needle tools?) then go get your tetanus booster. It absolutely sucks to be treated for tetanus, and isn't always successful.... So scrub up, and bubbles to you all.

 

P.s. Many artists are health professionals--you'd be surprised how many.

JBaymore likes this

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Yes grype, if you are immuno compromised I would imagine every aspect of your life is far different from a regular, healthy person. You probably have to be careful when you work in the garden or even go shopping in the grocery store.

I wonder if you let your trimmings dry out totally, you might not have to worry about icky stuff growing in them.

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And if you saw the quarries where clay is minesd, you'd be careful and recycle every particle!

 

Why is that Babs?  The only clay quarry I've seen, is from a video we watched in college.  It was a Japanese village, where everyone had pretty much one job.  The short, older lady, who wedged all the clay had forearms like tree trunks.

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Yes grype, if you are immuno compromised I would imagine every aspect of your life is far different from a regular, healthy person. You probably have to be careful when you work in the garden or even go shopping in the grocery store.

I wonder if you let your trimmings dry out totally, you might not have to worry about icky stuff growing in them.

 

I thought about this a good bit, but I wasn't really sure how to get it back into the workable form. 

 

And yea, my life is different, but its wonderful, any life is better than no life at all = ). I am one happy dad/husband/potter!

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And if you saw the quarries where clay is minesd, you'd be careful and recycle every particle!

 

Why is that Babs?  The only clay quarry I've seen, is from a video we watched in college.  It was a Japanese village, where everyone had pretty much one job.  The short, older lady, who wedged all the clay had forearms like tree trunks.

 

And we all get our clay from that short older lady....

Nothing wrong with the clay so use it maaaan!

Just cranky about the planet and mining issues, but hey there will always be more clay in a neat little bag for us, right?

Expalnation, cold wet, windy and doing  a crappy order I should, love that word, have said no to. :) Would have inserted angry face but they say if you smile seratonin is released

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Babs I have toured the EDgar mines, Makers of Edgar plastic kaolin, EPK.

 

I can personally attest that they are very responsible, and you can rest easily (. Smile) when using. EPK.

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My first year in college we went to a clay pit. It was amazing to be surrounded by walls of clay. But ya know clay is just hanging out in the open air and gets pooped on by birds and deer, and raccoons so clay has all kinds of organic materials unintentionally included. I don't fear my slurry bucket.

 

So if you boiled clay would it sterilize it?

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There have been many articles showing that playing in the dirt as a child is protective.  In fact children who play in the dirt have fewer allergies as adults.  One could make the arguement that potters should have a better immune system because of their clay exposure.

 

I'm one of those lucky people who almost never get sick (fingers crossed), and have happy memories of making mud pies.

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