The Common Germ-Avoiding Tricks That Aren’t Doing You Any Favors

Have you ever held your breath when someone coughed? Or tried to flush the toilet with your foot? Some of these tricks might help if you do them the right way, but they’re often unnecessary and based mostly in paranoia. Here’s the truth about avoiding germs in everyday life.

Source: The Common Germ-Avoiding Tricks That Aren’t Doing You Any Favors

Masks are generally useless – they aren’t rated for the intended use, need a good seal (no beards!)…

Trying to stay germ free at the toilet is hilarious.  Flushing without the lid down sprays stuff everywhere, and with the lid down is marginally better because the spray isn’t contained within – it’s just redirected as it comes out at the seat.

This DIY Bourbon Concoction Will Soothe Your Scratchy Throat

It seems like winter colds strike with a vengeance right now, at the end of the season. In my household we drink literally gallons of ginger and honey tea during the cold months. Fresh ginger tea is delicious, and it wards off colds pretty well. But when I was felled last week by a particularly nasty cough, I had to turn to something stronger.

Source: Recipe: Bourbon Cough Syrup for Grownups

In Ireland, it’s called a “hot whiskey”, but undiluted with boiling water.   In Canada/US, it’s known as “hot toddy” (or “hot totty”).

Or you can try the Greek way:

  • true Greek yogurt, with thyme honey, and cinnamon
  • Longly boiled black tea, with thyme honey, lots of fresh lemon juice and a shot of whisky if you like it.

You can add ginger to any of these, but I recommend reading about the vitamin K content in ginger first.

India’s Air Pollution Is So Bad It’s Causing Lung Damage in Kids

We gradually learned that Delhi’s true menace came from its air, water, food and flies. These perils sicken, disable and kill millions in India annually, making for one of the worst public health disasters in the world. Delhi, we discovered, is quietly suffering from a dire pediatric respiratory crisis, with a recent study showing that nearly half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have irreversible lung damage from the poisonous air.

Source: Holding Your Breath in India

The horrors of Charles Dickens didn’t go away, they just moved to other countries.  Inhaling exhaust will change the expression of your DNA

Stop Flushing With Your Foot, or: Germ Avoidance “Tricks” That Don’t Work

Perhaps you were as grossed out as we were by that recent Weill Cornell Medical College study that showed New York City’s subway system to be teeming with bacteria. Over an 18-month period, geneticist Christopher Mason and his team collected DNA from handrails, kiosks, seats, and turnstiles across the MTA to reveal a lush, invisible ecosystem containing more than 15,000 different kinds of microbial life. Ick, right?

Thankfully, the study also showed that the vast majority of bacteria found in the subway were harmless or even beneficial to humans. These “good” bacteria might come from food, remove toxins from the environment, or outcompete disease-causing pathogens lurking on surfaces. “That means more [bacterial] diversity, by the odds, would be a good thing,” Mason says.

Source: Pretty Much All of Your Weird Germ-Avoidance Behaviors Are Pointless

Hipster CDC Reports Flu Epidemic Peaked Years Ago

Gloves, tissue, etc – whatever you use to create a barrier between you and what you intend to handle…  It’s moot if you end up handling the surface that came into contact with a contaminated object.

Depending on what you are wearing a mask for, it’s not worth the time.  Most aren’t rated for germs/bacteria you’d be exposed to, and the ones that are – they require a solid fit to ensure quality.  That means no facial hair, guys.  As for what you’re exposed to – the percentage of particles is so vast and minute, some claim we’re breathing particles from Napoleon’s last breath.  In the outdoors, wind patterns can take things further than we’d believed.  Chernobyl demonstrated this when crops and animals throughout the world had higher levels of radiation…

The toilet?  The gross part is that the handle isn’t the issue, as the flush will distribute germs, bacteria, and fecal matter everywhere.  Closing the lid helps somewhat…  But we weren’t meant to use the toilet anyhow.

Germs aren’t a real health hazard; there are germs everywhere in your life, and the ones in bathrooms aren’t significantly more numerous or more dangerous than the rest. The best ways to steer clear of cold and flu germs (the most likely threats anywhere) are to:

  • wash your hands
  • avoid touching your face
  • support your immune system by not smoking and by exercising, eating, and sleeping well

Just One Fix: How to Know When You Actually Need Antibiotics

Antibiotics are strong medicines that can kill bacteria. But we have overused antibiotics for many years. As a result, we now have bacteria that resist antibiotics. Resistant bacteria cause infections that are harder to cure and more costly to treat.

Antibiotic-resistant infections can strike anyone. They can be passed on to others. For example, more and more healthy young people are getting skin infections from MRSA, a bacteria that resists many common antibiotics. MRSA is spreading in households, daycare, schools, camps, dorms, gyms, team sports, and the military.

Try to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here’s what you need to know to help prevent resistance:

Source: Antibiotics: When you need them—and when you don’t

The CDC provides similar information for adults, but more detail.  Reducing antibiotic prescribing is something that requires awareness from both doctors and patients.

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