What Are The Health Implications of Licking Envelopes?

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Will swimming after you eat make you sick? Is there a trick to alleviate the sting of a jellyfish sting? Can you die from licking an envelope? If you watch a lot of television, you might think the answer to all of those questions is yes. The reality is actually quite a bit different. So from gum to ink, what are the health concerns of licking envelopes? And can your email give you a virus? It’s important to know your gum and ink facts, so we’re here to keep you from a sticky situation and wrap up the implications of licking envelopes.

Licking Envelopes: Yes or No?

First of all, envelope gum doesn’t have anything to do with a pink, chewy substance. The gum we are talking about has everything to do with sealing an envelope. Gum is the adhesive used in production that allows you to seal the flap closed when you are ready to mail your envelope. There are a few different types of gum, but most are created from a product called gum arabic, which is made from sap extracted from two species of acacia trees.

Can your mail give you a virus?

There is a very low risk of catching a virus from mail and packages. It’s still recommended to avoid touching your face and wash your hands after receiving mail or packages.

Gum thickness on an envelope will depend on a few factors, including the weight of the paper and the type of envelope being produced. Proper gum placement and solutions are important for ensuring the best envelope performance. Other items, like ink that you may come across while licking envelopes are safe as well. Ballpoint pens, in particular, are made with non-toxic ink. So now the question is, to lick or not to lick? The answer is really up to you. The raw materials used to produce envelope gums are not harmful to your health and are even overseen by America’s Food and Drug Administration. However, you may choose to use a moist sponge rather than your tongue just because of the taste, and if you are sealing dozens of envelopes, a sponge is almost certainly more efficient.  

Is Your Mail Going to Give You a Virus?

Checking the mail is a standard part of most workdays, not to mention essential to keeping an office running. Being prepared and organized makes sorting, delivering, and sending mail a much more efficient process. So what happens if you’re worried about the mail you’re handling?

Packages and envelopes face varying weather conditions on their journeys from point A to point B. These journeys can take a period of days, naturally affecting how long a virus can live on them. Plus, paper, in general, isn’t very effective at facilitating the spread of viruses compared to other surfaces. All of this together leads health experts to agree that the risks are very low that viruses will remain on envelopes. This means if you have been concerned about a virus landing on your desk through the mail, you can relax.

But, while the risk of catching a virus from mail and packages is very low, there are still precautions you can take to be extra cautious. First, after a mail delivery or collecting mail from a post office box, remember not to touch your face. And secondly, either wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You may also consider wiping down your mailbox with dish soap and warm water to clean it, and then disinfecting the surface with an appropriate disinfecting spray.

Whether you are sending mailers, customer communications, or invoices, let Letter Jacket be your hassle-free envelope solution. As envelope experts, we are here with help when you need it; just think of us as part of your office team. Let us show you how to set up a recurring order, making sure you keep stocked up and ready for any office needs. Visit our website to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • There is a very low risk of catching a virus from mail and packages.
  • The raw materials used to produce envelope gums are not harmful to your health.
  • For extra precaution, after a mail delivery, remember not to touch your face and wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Letter Jacket is your hassle-free envelope solution.
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