10 'Harmless' Things You Should Really Wash Your Hands After Touching

If you can't resist the urge to cuddle these guys, at least wash your hands after. iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Ducklings and chicks rank high on the list of the cutest animals ever. They're soft, fuzzy and full of plaintive peeps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they're also breeding grounds for salmonella, a bacterium that often causes food poisoning. The birds release the germs in their droppings, but their entire bodies can become contaminated because, well, they play where they poop. If you cuddle or -- gross -- kiss your feathered friends, you run the risk of picking up some bad bacteria. Salmonella germs cause a diarrheal illness that can be mild, severe or even life-threatening, especially in very young or very old people.

If you can't resist touching the baby birds, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. In lieu of washing, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer until you can get to a sink. And never let live poultry inside your house or anywhere where food is prepared, stored or served. That means you shouldn't let ducklings and chicks party on your patio or hang out in your beer cooler.