ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Americans spend almost $7 billion a year on Halloween costumes and masks — but just trying one on may leave you with the kind of chills you’d rather avoid.

California researchers studied swabs of about a dozen rubber Halloween masks, finding a plethora of bacteria, mold, and fungi.

Beaumont Hospital infectious disease expert Paula Keller said the problem starts when you put on a mask that’s already been tried on by someone who’s sick.

“Of more concern would be if someone had the cold or flu, tried it on, and left respiratory secretions on the inside,” Keller said “This wouldn’t be a problem until you got it inside you nose or mouth.”

Keller urged that if you’re mask-shopping,  wipe the inside of the mask with a sanitizing wipe before you try it on.

She also said that you may also want to carry hand sanitizer while you’re costume shopping, and avoid touching your face as much as possible.

“Just be prudent, be cautious,” Keller advised. “We all go to try on clothes and most of us don’t know if the person that tried it on before us had the flu, a cold, or head lice, or something.”

“We just have to be practical,” she said.


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