Diseases and Disorders Spread Through Dirty Towels

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Towels and clothing could spread germs and viruses. That’s why if a loved one is infected by something, make sure to clean all beddings, towels, and clothing to prevent re-infection. But what kinds of diseases can towels spread throughout the household? Check out our list below:


Conjunctivitis – also known as pink eye – is a highly contagious eye infection. This condition affects the conjunctiva. This is the protective membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed areas of the sclera or white of the eye. Symptoms include inflammation, burning, irritation and redness of the conjunctiva.

Treating pink eye requires antibiotics, prescription eye drops, and warm water. Washing the eyes with warm water helps prevent crusting. If a loved one contracted pink eye, do not borrow any of his stuff. That includes utensils, towels and clothing. Anything that the person touched may turn to a vehicle to spread the infection.


Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. Although curable, gonorrhea can damage the reproductive organs – particularly in women. This is a bacterial infection that affects the genital tract, the anus, and the mouth. In women, the infection could spread to the birth canal, fallopian tube and cervix. If gonorrhea is not treated right away, it will lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility.

Gonorrhea’s symptoms include burning sensation when urinating and during sexual intercourse, sharp pain in the lower abdomen, fever, and foul vaginal discharge. Treatment includes penicillin, sulphonamides, tetracyclines, ceftriaxone, cefixime, ciprofloxacin to ofloxacin. If afflicted with this condition, refrain from sexual contact, do not rub your eyes and do not share towels. All these could trigger an outbreak.


Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by different streptococci strains. This condition affects kids and infants. Symptoms range from skin rashes with pus to lesions, blisters, scabs, and extremely itchy skin. Impetigo starts out as a small sore, usually on the nose or mouth. The sore becomes inflamed, bursting into a honey-colored crater. The sores will start spreading to other parts of the face.

Impetigo can be treated with antibiotic ointments, antiseptic solutions, oral antibiotics and good personal hygiene. As with most conditions on this list, impetigo is spread through skin to skin contact and sharing towels.


Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by a species of mites, Sarcoptes scabei. Symptoms of scabies include relentless itching, rashes, blisters, and lesions. Incessant scratching will result in secondary infections. Upon close inspection, the rashes have tiny burrows into the skin. This means microscopic mites are making their way into the epidermis.

This condition is spread through skin to skin contact, sharing towels, beddings and clothing, as well as sexual intercourse. Treatments include sulfur ointments, hydrocortisone creams as well as oral and topical scabicidal drugs.

To prevent an infestation or re-infection, make sure all beddings, clothing and towels are washed with hot water. Seal all these in plastic containers to repel mites. Vacuum the rest of the home – including the rugs, furniture, and carpets.

Crab Lice

The crab louse is a parasitic insect that feeds exclusively on human blood. It’s usually found in pubic hair, but it also lives in other parts of the body covered with coarse hair – including the eyelashes! Treating crab lice requires regular anti-lice shampoo, killing the nits on hair shafts and the lice.

To stop the infestation, do not share towels, clothing and bed with the person who has crabs. Wash all articles of clothing including the beddings. Finally, avoid sexual intercourse at all cost.