We’ve all had that moment at some point: you order food at a favorite restaurant and you’re about to chow down when you spot it: that lonely hair sitting in your soup. Or worse yet, a fly that’s landed on your steak before it gets a chance to reach your mouth.

It happens. The question is, is the fly really something to worry about?

An article in USA Today states that in a study done by the pest-control company Orkin, 61 percent of 300 people would drop their forks if they saw a cockroach while eating, and only 3 percent would be bothered by a fly buzzing around.

But here it is: the truth is, that fly hanging around is a lot more dangerous to your health than the cockroach.

Flies carry communicable diseases by gathering pathogens on their legs and mouths. They do this by landing on things like garbage, decomposing waste and feces, (how lovely), and then passing the pathogens onto others when they fly away and land on something that you’re about to eat. Fast flyers, they can spread contagions in seconds.

So, how can you get rid of the pesky, compound-eye buggers if they’re buzzing around?

Orkin says sanitation is crucial. Garbage flies or houseflies require decomposing organic material to develop. In homes, the pest company says, these flies can lay their eggs in garbage cans, old food or the body of a small, dead animal such as a mouse or bird.

Cover the basics first: keep things clean, including trash cans, drains, and counter tops. Counter spaces and chopping blocks should be wiped down frequently and all food should stay in the fridge if it is not being used. (Even that fruit on the counter!)

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And even if they look dry in winter, resist the urge to over-water indoor potted plants, as the soaked soil will provide a perfect breeding ground for gnats.

Remember to keep the pots well drained.

If drain flies are ever a problem, treat problem areas with products like Invade Bio Treatment Gel.

As for restaurants-have you ever had a blast of air come down on you when you are entering? Some establishments use large fans called “air curtains’ to reduce the chances of flies entering the building.

At home, using screens, and keeping doors and windows shut most of the time can reduce the chance of buzzing visitors arriving for a holiday party on your festive crème brule.

By following these general pieces of advice, you are likely to stay in the clear. It’s unlikely that you will get sick from contact with just ONE fly and be sent to the hospital.

It is known that flies can be carriers for typhoid, cholera and dysentery to name a few setbacks, but you usually need a bundle of them around for some time in order to come up against any substantial threat.

So if it’s just one fly, swat it and rest assured. But if you’re surrounded- maybe eat that ham sandwich later.

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