Wash Your Hands at the Hospital or Doctor’s Office to Avoid Bringing Nasty Germs Home

Encouraging doctors and nurses to wash their hands frequently has always been considered an effective way to curb the spread of infection in hospitals and other health facilities.

But a research letter published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine points to another key group of people who aren’t always keeping their hands so clean and probably should: patients.

Source: Patients Leave the Hospital with Superbugs on Their Hands

Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it when you leave the office, get off the elevator, leave the building and one last time when you’re safely in your car. You are touching thousands of sick people each step of the way.

If you don’t have to touch things in a hospital or doctors office, don’t.  Magazines are probably the worst things to handle – your phone or tablet is a safer option.

To a certain extent you need exposure to everyday germs to stay healthy, but not at that level.

Your Doctor Does Not Give a Crap About Your Fitness Tracker Data

You may think your smart watch or activity tracker can help you keep tabs on your health, but don’t be shocked if your doctor is more skeptical.

Wearable producers such as Apple, Fitbit, and Pebble will ship more than 76 million of the devices by the end of the year, according to market research firm IDC. Some doctors and researchers, however, remain unimpressed, They question the value of the particular metrics tracked, as well as the validity of the deluge of data these gadgets produce.

Source: Your Doctor Doesn’t Want to Hear About Your Fitness-Tracker Data

The reason doctors have you come in once for an exam and then later for a checkup is so that they can get the numbers they want with the equipment that they want in the time periods and under the conditions they want. Fitness trackers can be useful, but not for much other than, well, tracking your fitness.

I’d been investigating 24×7 heart rate monitoring (HRM) using an optical sensor – the DCRainMaker reviews have been very helpful, now that the reviews are paying more attention to the HRM accuracy.  The FitBit offerings (Charge HR, Surge) were out by 10%.  The Garmin FR225 has much better accuracy, but after four months on the market – it’s being supplanted by the FR235.  The other issue is that the FR235 is using a Garmin optical sensor, while the FR225 uses a Mio licensed sensor…

On a similar note, I recently became aware of the AliveCor.  A nurse said it was the first trace from an iPhone app that was readable (Android supported as well).  But you have to sit really still for the reading…

Being Rude to Your Doctor Could Be Bad for Your Health

In the interests of not being a jackass, you should probably be nice to your doctors. But if common courtesy isn’t a good enough reason, a recent paper suggests you’ll get worse medical treatment if you’re worse.

Source: Being Rude to Your Doctor Could Be Bad for Your Health

Local laws do not tolerate abuse of medical staff.  But I’ve certainly experienced medical office staff who were rude and self-important.  For every protected class, there is someone desperate to want to wield the power granted.

I understand that being rude makes an impact on things, but like lawyers “moral vacuum” – there needs to be some distance between how a person acts and the medical care they require.

Why Choosing the Right Surgeon Matters Even More Than You Think

She had no way of knowing how much was riding on her decision. The doctor she chose, Constantine Toumbis, had one of the highest rates of complications in the country for spinal fusions. The other two doctors had rates among the lowest for postoperative problems like infections and internal bleeding.

Source: Why Choosing the Right Surgeon Matters Even More Than You Think

It’s a very long read.  But it is important to ask questions of your doctor/surgeon.  Like medications, some can be pushing particular models for things like hip replacements that might not have a great track record.  We often blindly believe the doctor knows best…

Study: An Apple A Day Keeps The Prescription Meds Away

Correlation does not imply causation! This doesn’t seem to rule out other factors, like whether apple eaters have healthier diets and lifestyles in general (which seems likely).

Also, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t an aphorism, it’s an old advertising slogan created by the apple industry. And it’s about as credible as any other slogan. Apples aren’t particularly healthy compared to other fruits like berries or tomatoes – they just had good PR.

A new study suggests that people should regularly eat apples not necessarily to keep the doctor away, but as a means to reduce national health care spending.

Source: An Apple A Day Keeps The Prescription Meds Away

This is a somewhat unsatisfying article. The first way that apple eaters might differ from the rest of the population is simply that they are more likely to be eating more fresh fruit, which we already know has health benefits above a certain level.

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to JAMA, so I can’t access the original paper to see if they controlled for this.

Why Your Doctor Might Not Be the Best Nutritional Resource

Your doctor is one of the most important people to your well being, and rightfully so. While you should trust their advice on certain matters, it’s also important to understand the boundaries of their training, and when you should seek outside help.

Source: Why Your Doctor Might Not Be the Best Nutritional Resource

They are only human.  There’s nothing wrong with researching yourself, including consulting someone more specialized in nutrition.

How Do You Tell Someone That They’re Dying?

How do you tell someone that they’re seriously ill, or even dying? Chrissie Giles explores how doctors learn and how they deal with the stress and trauma, for both their patients and themselves.

Source: How Do You Tell Someone That They’re Dying?