Monday, October 12, 2009

Read Me

There are a few basic rules for living that we learn in early childhood. Be polite, please. Thank you. Eat your fruits and veggies. Wash your hands.

Yet it's as often that we meet rude adults, who live on fast, processed foods, and who don't wash their hands. All the basic rules forgotten.

I can hardly believe that I am saying this again, but with all the worries over this new flu (H1N1) I almost want to laugh. Worry about the flu, eat unhealthy, processed foods, get a very new and barely tested vaccination (whose side effects we know little about) and don't wash your hands. Sound about right? Sadly, this is the common protocol for many people.

In the 1840s, Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis figured that washing hands before surgery would cut the infection rate of patients. Now, doctors scrub up religiously before surgery. So, what's the big deal for us to wash up after we use the bathroom?

"Our bodies harbor vast numbers of germs, and a lot of them just love to hang out in our nether regions" writes Discover Magazine. "The simple act of washing your hands after getting rid of your latest quota of feces will get rid of the majority of those germs that might have made it, somehow, onto your hands. And from there to the flush handle, and to the doorknob, and to whatever else you touch for the next three hours until you wash your hands. Do you use a pencil or pen at work? Do you chew on the end sometimes, putting the pencil in your mouth, the pencil you held in your hands, after touching the doorknob, the flush handle, your fecal bacteria?"


I recently went into a public bathroom without my purse. (I always keep a bar of soap in my purse, FYI.) The bathroom didn't have a trace of soap anywhere. I rinsed with warm water, which is actually worse (it spreads the bacteria all around the hands and allows it to grow), but it felt unnatural to do nothing. When I got back to my seat, I Purelled but still, I felt icky. Proper hand washing requires warm water, soap, and a scrub at least as long as the alphabet song.

Instead of worrying about the new flu (like past overblown reports of Bird Flu and West Nile Virus), just wash your hands, eat good foods, and stay home when you are sick. In addition, have your kids wash their hands the moment they get home from school, to wash off anything they may have picked up (and forgotten to wash off) during the course of their day.

Dr. Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP, reported today that "75-80% of the 76 children who died of swine flu had significant or severe underlying medical problems." The media doesn't tell you that.

Here's more from his newsletter dated today:

"Colds and coughs have an acute phase of 2, 3 or 4 days during which children are contagious and may need to stay home from school.

Following this contagious period, there can be extra mucus, congestion, cough and malaise for another week or so. By the end of this ten-day period, most children will have been exposed to, and maybe contracted, another 2 or 3 other viruses! It's really no surprise that your children and many others might seem to be sick for weeks on end.

A new study showed that when you examine the blood of children who've been sick for a couple weeks or more the majority of these kids show antibodies to 2 or 3 different viruses: In other words, children and adults don't have ten-day viral illnesses, they have a series of 2 and 3 day bugs which might look daunting but are actually just a part of a normal winter viral season.

Why do we get more illnesses in winter? There are more social and school gatherings in confined spaces, the air is drier, more people travel during winter holidays and we eat more junk food during these months."

So please, I urge you to just be clean. Wash, wash, wash your hands. Please. Seriously, is it that big a deal? I mean, with all due respect, though you might think that it's okay to pee and then shake my hand, I'd prefer you wash them first.

1 comment:

  1. ew. yuck. yes, wash your hands.