Is Your Movie Theater Making You Sick?

Could a night out at the movies lead you to a night in the hospital? The Doctors investigates how watching the latest blockbuster on the big screen could possibly put you in contact with some big time germs, bacteria and other unsavory items that you don’t want anywhere near your popcorn!

With the help of ABC Labs, The Doctors tested three types of movie theaters – a high-end location, a theater located at a mall and a budget cinema – taking swabs of the armrests, seats, cup holders and floors and the laboratory results were shocking.

“Every theater had fecal growth in different places,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says, explaining that in our specific tests all three locations had either fecal matter or fecal bacteria on the seats, floor or armrests.

But before you swear off seeing movies in the theater, or show up in a hazmat suit, there are a few simple things to keep in mind to avoid coming in contact with these germs.
“You don’t want to go sit down and start rubbing all over and rubbing the floor and then go grab popcorn,” Dr. Stork warns. “You want to be cognizant, if this hand is all over the armrest, don’t pick things up off the floor and eat them.” 

Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon notes, “You probably want to keep yourself fairly covered up, especially if you have open sores and things like that.”

But can one get sick from coming in contact with movie theater germs?

“If you grab some fecal matter and eat, yeah,” Dr. Stork says, but notes, “It’s not like there is an epidemic of people going to movie theaters and walking out sick as a dog… when you’re in a public space like that, just be aware that there are a lot of germs around you – not that they are going to make you sick in every scenario, but just be aware.”

Next time you’re at the theater, you might want to think twice about the piece of popcorn that landed on the empty seat next to you – and it wouldn’t hurt to wash your hands after the credits roll.

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