SHOCKER: Second Hand Clothes Can GIve You Syphillis/Gonorhea

Medical studies have raised the alarm over the risk that these used items pose.

They say some bacteria, fungi, parasitic and viral infections can be contracted through wearing of second- hand clothes.They claim Sexually Transmitted Diseases are not only contracted through sexual relationship with infected persons.

According to studies, while used clothes generally pose health dangers to users, the underwear has been found to present greater risks.

Infections such as virginal and skin candidiasis, scabies, tinea corporis, chicken pox, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and even Hepatitis A, B and C, among others, can be linked to wearing underwear previously used by infected persons.
A consultant dermatologist, Dr. Olufunmilayo Ajose, said the risk of infection is heightened where users fail to wash, properly disinfect and iron these clothes.

She said though the harsh economic realities might make it difficult to ban the sale and use of second-hand underwear and clothes, there should be proper awareness on handling and using them.

Ajose said, "The handling from the source is very important. If the clothes are not properly stored but are bundled together, they may become mouldy and fungal. If in turn the person who buys them does not wash and iron before wearing them, he will be at risk of picking any infection that the previous user has.

"If proper care is taken, no disease will cling permanently to the clothes. So any second-hand clothes or underwear that you cannot iron, don't buy them or you risk being infected with STIs, scabies and other fungi, bacteria and virus-linked infections."
But a Consultant Surgeon at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Philip Ogunjimi, said people should avoid used underwear entirely because of the health risks.

He said that some bacteria are very resistant and can survive harsh conditions for long on clothes.
He said that a regular wash may not get rid of some of the bacteria, especially those that come with discharge from the body of the previous user.

He added that strong reagents are sometimes needed to get rid of them, stressing that such clothes must be ironed so that the heat can kill the eggs, where present.

"It is true that there are great risks in using second-hand underclothes. STIs are the most likely ones. This practice should be discouraged in the interest of healthy living," said Ogunjimi.

A medical counsellor based in Delta State, Dr. Abidemi Shabi, said there are possibilities of contracting various kinds of infections through the wearing of second-hand clothes.

He said, "Fungi infections include Tinea (Ring worm), viral infections include genital warts for underwear, and parasitic infestations such as scabies and body lice, which is also capable of causing louse-borne diseases.

"All of these infections can, however, be prevented simply by washing and ironing of the used clothes before wearing them."

A Gynaecologist and the Medical Director, BeeHess Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Bakare Olabode, said organisms in pus on underwear can stay alive and can be dangerous to the health of the next user if not properly treated.

"Anyone buying these materials should ensure that antiseptic is used to disinfect them and the underwear should either be lined out in the sun or ironed before wearing them. Itching under the thighs, candidiasis and other STIs can be prevented."

In a comment posted on the Internet, Dr. Folusho Ajani of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital said second-hand clothes might also cause hepatitis
She said the B, C, D and G types might be transmitted through blood, sweat and semen of infected persons. She explained that candidiasis, a STI, is caused by the yeast fungus found on the skin.
She, however, stressed that vaginal and skin variants could be contracted from using second-hand clothes and underwear, previously used by an infected person.

She said the yeast fungi responsible for the disease could be passed on to the new user if precaution is not taken before wearing them.
She stressed the need to thoroughly wash the underwear with disinfectants and iron them before use.
She said, "Candidiasis of the skin may also be contracted through used clothes, though it is rare except there are cuts on the skin. Hepatitis viruses hardly survive outside the body for a long time