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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Viral Infections

Question: Rabies: Can you get it from swallowing animal saliva?

 christineadams - Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:15 am

A few weeks ago, I dropped a piece of food on the ground (on a locker room) and then i picked it up and ate it again. Then, a few days after, i dropped a quarter on the ground, picked it up, and bit my nails. Could i have gotten rabies or any other diseased? i had a few cuts on my hands, near my nails. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!
 Debbie Miller, RN - Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:48 pm

User avatar Hello,
It would be extremely unlikely you would pick up rabies in this way. First of all the animal would have to be infected with rabies, the infected saliva would have to get on the item and you would need to be exposed all within a fairly short period of time.

However, germs are everywhere and putting things in your mouth and not using good handwashing can expose you to any number of infections. But usually these would have noticeable symptoms (like the cut in the skin would become infected or the food would make you vomit and/or have diarrhea). Most germs are handled by our body's immune system and we are able to survive exposure to many if we are otherwise healthy.

Try to improve your hygiene and avoid putting dirty things in your mouth, including fingers but don't stress over this if you have had no symptoms of illness. If you find yourself worrying excessively about germs it could be a sign of another disorder such as a phobia or obsessive compulsive disorder and should be addressed with a therapist.

Best wishes.

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