For avid music festival goers, keeping a wristband on long after the event ends is a fun way to carry treasured musical memories—but it turns out those sweet memories have the potential to make them sick. According to recent research by microbiologist Allison Cotell, some cloth wristbands are riddled with thousands of germs, Noisey reports.

To determine just how gross old festival wristbands can get, Cottell enlisted the help of a festival goer who had been wearing two wristbands for two full years. While one person and two wrists is an extremely small sample size for a study, the results were nevertheless dramatic.

Cottell found a concentration of approximately 9000 micrococci and 2000 staphylococci bacteria on the two wristbands. That’s around 20 times the amount of micrococci and staphylococci normally found on clothing. Cottell told Science Dump that while the bacteria found on wristbands are generally harmless in small amounts—and, in fact, are normally found on people’s skin—they can become dangerous in such large quantities.

Staphylococci, she says, can cause “boils and infections of cuts and grazes, and can also cause a form of acute food poisoning if they are ingested.” That means any time you're eating a sandwich or slice of pizza with your hands, there's a good chance you're inadvertently brushing a few food poisoning–causing germs from your wristbands onto your food.

Of course, plenty of music lovers out there have worn their grungy wristbands for years without getting seriously ill. But if you’re concerned about your health, it might be a good idea to cut them off, since it turns out they’re loaded with more than memories.

[h/t Noisey]

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