Sunday, October 30, 2011

9 Money Habits That Can Literally Make You Sick

Click here for our new sales flyer: Antimicrobial Cards Flyer

9 Money Habits That Can Literally Make You Sick 
bJodi Helmer CBS Moneywatch | Apr 21, 2011
You already know that dropping a few dollars at the fast-food drive-through every day will take its toll on your health — but you might be surprised to learn about other spending habits that could be harming your health and well-being. Before you whip out your credit card to pay for groceries one more time, read the following danger signs.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Surprising Germ Havens: Supermarket

Surprising Germ Havens: At The Grocery Store
Those plastic covers made for the seat area of the shopping cart were created for good reason: “We find more E. coli on shopping carts than on toilet seats,” Dr. Gerba says. “In addition to germs from food, children’s dirty bottoms are going in the seat—and the carts are hardly ever cleaned.”
The checkout screens where you swipe your credit or ATM card aren’t great, either. In some grocery stores, up to 80% have E. colion them—likely picked up from people handling leaky meat packages and unwashed produce, then touching the screen. Another germy spot: Your reusable grocery bag. Yes, you’re being environmentally conscious, but bacteria from meat and produce from your last trip are probably still in there. “Only 3% of people surveyed say they have ever washed their totes, and half use them for carrying other things, like dirty clothes,” Dr. Gerba says. “That’s like hauling your groceries home in your dirty underwear.”
Keep It Clean: Wipe grocery cart handles and seats with a disinfecting wipe (look for a dispenser in your supermarket) and line the seat area with a plastic bag before wheeling it around the store. After leaving the store, be sure to wash your hands or apply sanitizing hand gel. In addition to washing reusable bags regularly, set one aside for raw meats, or wrap meat packages in a plastic bag before putting them in your tote.
What about money and pens? Yes, they’ve been handled by hundreds of people, but your risk of contamination from money is low because germs stick to the porous fibers of paper bills and don’t transfer easily to your hands, Dr. Gerba says. Nickel and copper have antimicrobial properties that make coins relatively low-risk. Public pens have also come up surprisingly clean in Dr. Gerba’s research. “In some stores, pens are disinfected at the end of the day,” he says.
The Bottom of Your Bag, Suitcase or Backpack
You come home after your bag has been in a shopping cart, on the floor and who knows where else and plop it on the kitchen counter. Get ready for the gross factor: Research shows that bacteria like E. coli cling to the bottom of 18% of bags. Keep bags off the floor and whatever you do, don’t set a bag on any surface where food is made or eaten.
Woman’s Day “No More Colds! What Really Kills Germs.” 

Campaign for a Healthy Denver | employees talk about working while ill

"Sick Rick" -- a volunteer dressed as a sick face surrounded by germs
 who squirts Silly String out of holes in the costume’s nose and mouth
was introduced Thursday as a mascot by the pro-Initiative 300 campaign.
Campaign for a Healthy Denver, which supports a paid-sick-leave ordinance in Denver, presented three restaurant workers Thursday who backed one of their main arguments in favor of Initiative 300: They said they’ve gone to work sick and likely gotten customers ill because their companies don’t grant paid sick days.

The move was meant to counter the claims of restaurant owners, who almost universally oppose Initiative 300, which will be on the November ballot. The owners say workers don’t come in sick because management encourages them to switch shifts with co-workers, and stay home to get well.

It also continued the theme of the Campaign for a Healthy Denver: The initiative is about improving public health, not about the negative impact on jobs and the economy that opponents say it will have.

"When you hand me your credit card to pay for your grande nonfat latte and I hand it back, I may be getting you sick," said Laura Baker, a Starbucks barista who acknowledged going into work when ill because she couldn’t afford to lose the $65 per shift she earns. "It’s places like restaurants and coffee shops and places like that that need paid sick days the most because we’re working for a low wage ... and can’t afford to stay at home," she said.

Keep Denver Competitive, the committee of business leaders fighting Initiative 300, responded that workers who admit to coming to work sick are acting illegally, and that proponents’ threats don’t change the fact that companies will cut jobs to fund paid sick leave.

"They should call the health department, because that’s already against the law," spokesman George Merritt said of the workers admitting they have come to work ill. "This group is pulling a lot of stunts to distract from the fact that people who need jobs, local businesses and city officials have all said Denver can’t afford Initiative 300."
The initiative would require that any business in Denver offer one hour of paid sick leave to employees for every 30 hours worked, capped at nine sick days per year for companies of 10 or more workers and five days per year for smaller businesses. It also would require that any employee of a company located outside city limits, who spends at least 40 hours a year working in the city, be covered by the law for the time they work in Denver.
The other two restaurant workers declined to give their full names for fear of being fired. One was a server at a "trendy" downtown restaurant who said he’s gone into work with “terrible head colds” even when handling food, fearing he would lose pay or even his job.

Initiative proponents also introduced a new mascot at the news conference — "Sick Rick," a volunteer dressed as a sick face surrounded by germs who squirts Silly String out of holes in the costume’s nose and mouth. Sick Rick will visit Denver businesses and pass out flyers, campaign leaders said.

Denver Business Journal | Ed Sealover, Reporter 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Contagion" | a lethal virus transmitted by a traveler's credit card, poker chips?

An international traveler reaches into the snack bowl at an airport bar before passing her credit card to a waiter...One contact. One instant. And a lethal virus is transmitted. In the film the virus was transmitted from a contaminated pig, to the cook, the cook shook hands with the traveler.  She was at a casino in China.  The traveler then used her debit card to get money from an ATM, played with poker chips, used her credit card at the airport. People don't take time to clean everything they touch while in public, or traveling. This movie is a fantastic infomercial for why we need manufactures to manufacture antimicrobial credit / debit cards, poker chips.

Hidden Poker Opponents: Germs, Colds and Staph

Researchers studied five different Vegas Strip
casino chips and found 5,600 micro-organisms
including MRSA
Poker players risk more than money at the felt: they risk their health, as players who go to card rooms regularly are prone to catching germs along with their pot winnings. Dr. Will Sawyer from Cincinnati warns about the common germ sharing at the poker table. “Let’s say you’re sick, you cough into your hands, you pick up the cards and you shuffle and deal. Chances are, [germs] from your cough are now on those cards. And if someone picks up a card and they have an itch and they put their finger in their eyes, nose or mouth, they’re probably going to be sick the next day.”

Students at the University of Wisconsin conducted a study in which they placed men suffering from severe colds with a group of healthy men, making them play together for 12 hours. Twelve of the 18 healthy men became sick from the same cold simply by breathing the same air as the sick players and by touching their own faces, cards and chips throughout the game.

Dr. Sawyer, not surprised by the study findings, explains that “Respiratory illness spreads through direct contact and by floating through the air, but the [germs] only float three feet. So, the biggest problem here is really our hands.”

Sawyer has been committed to educating communities about the importance of hand washing as the best method to avoid food poisoning, colds, influenza and respiratory diseases. He claims if people washed hands at the right time and in the right way, they would rarely get sick again.

However, Americans are not so interested in keeping disease-free, according to the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), a nonprofit institution devoted to educating Americans about proper hygiene. They point out that 68% of the American population doesn’t wash their hands long enough to remove germs, and 36% rarely washes after coughing or sneezing.

The Bluff Towers also made their own study about casino poker chips’ hygiene, for which they hired a team of students and Professor Brian Hedlund from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas to determine how many germs could be found in the chips of five different Vegas Strip casinos. The team found that the chips with the lowest number of bacteria had approximately 5,600 micro-organisms. Of these, staphylococcus – abundant in human skin – was the most common bacterium found in the casino samples. Staphylococcus-induced illness ranges from pimples and boils to the infamous hospital killer MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), which causes infections immune to most antibiotics, killing around 80,000 people a year. The research team also found high numbers of bacillus, which originate in dirt and dust, and the bacillus cereus found is the main instigator of food poisoning.

For card-room lovers, all they have to do to keep healthy is to keep an instant hand sanitizer next to them, such as gels or wipes, and use it before touching their faces while playing, especially when noticing a sick player in their table. It is also important to take frequent bathroom breaks and wash hands properly, and make sure to always clean your hands before each meal.

Hand Gels
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends sanitizing products that are alcohol-based, with a concentration that ranges between 60% and 95%. According to the FDA, hand sanitizers are effective in reducing gastrointestinal diseases, colds and influenza only if they have a high level of alcohol concentration, since many products with lower concentrations do not reduce bacteria effectively and can still allow the transference of germs.

Disinfecting Wipes

The Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University in Wales conducted a study in which wipes were used in surfaces purposely contaminated with MRSA, which were wiped out in just 10 seconds.

In the U.S., companies that manufacture disinfecting wipes must register them with the Environmental Protection Agency to claim their efficiency to eliminate specific germs.

According to Dr. Bill Rutala from the University of North Carolina Health-Care System, disinfecting wipes are also safe for computer keyboards, for players who like practicing their strategy online after their card-room session. By washing your hands and wiping your keyboards after coming from a casino, you make sure there is no bacterial transference from the casino environment to your home.

Hidden Poker Opponents by EDUARDO SOLANO | Posted: 08/15/2008

When Cards and Germs Are Wild | Colds and Flu

Poker chips can harbor germs 
No matter what version of poker you play, it’s a game where bluffers prosper. But some scientists have found that money isn’t the only thing people put to chance when they gather around the card table.

If you play the game regularly, you are likely to win an opponent’s achy, oozing cold. In fact, the sniffles are a more sure bet than going home with the most chips.

Lucky you. "Let’s say you’re sick, you cough into your hands, you pick up the cards and you shuffle and deal," says Dr. Will Sawyer, of Cincinnati who has devoted his career to spreading the gospel of proper hand washing.

"Chances are, [germs] from your cough are now on those cards. And if someone picks up a card and they have an itch and they put their finger in their eyes, nose or mouth, they’re probably going to be sick the next day."

A group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin in Madison proved as much. They placed men with severe colds alongside a group of perfectly healthy men, and had the group play poker for 12 hours. Twelve of 18 healthy men contracted colds just by breathing the air and touching their faces and the poker game pieces. Chalk it up as an underside to the World Series of Poker and other versions of the mega-popular Texas Hold ’em Tournaments.

Dr. Sawyer is unsurprised. "The science is clear on this," he says. "Respiratory illness spreads through direct contact and by floating through the air, but the [germs] only float three feet. So, the biggest problem here is really our hands. We are just giving the colds to ourselves."

Americans suffer 1 billion colds annually, according to the National Institutes of Health. That’s one reason why Dec. 3-9 has been deemed National Hand-Washing Awareness Week.

In the case of hand washing, Americans do not seem to be particularly adept. Brian Sansoni is the spokesman for the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), a nonprofit trade organization that educates consumers about cleaning and hygiene products.

"Every couple of years, we issue a clean hands report card, and we’re not doing as well as we should," says Sansoni. Last year, the SDA gave Americans a C-minus for their flawed hand hygiene: “Sixty-eight percent of Americans don’t wash their hands long enough to effectively remove germs and dislodge dirt, and 36 percent said they seldom or never wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.”

"From a public health standpoint, it is kind of disgusting and a little alarming that we don’t take even simple steps to keep our hands clean," says Sansoni.

For cold-free futures, Dr. Sawyer preaches what he calls respiratory etiquette combined with a few simple hand-washing rules. First, he recommends washing your hands before eating or whenever they’re dirty. Second, he discourages coughing or sneezing into your hands. (“Throw an elbow instead,” he says.) Finally, “Do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth.”

A fourth tip might be to direct your poker friends to this article.

If your hands are dirty without a sink in sight, use instant hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes. Studies show that these hand-washing alternatives kill most—but not all—types of disease-causing bacteria. As a result, these products should be used when plain soap and water aren’t available, advises Dr. Sawyer.

So, the next time you sit down for a game of Friday night poker, remember: Your lucky royal flush may not be the most dangerous hand at the table. Wash up and wash often and chances are, you’ll never sniffle back phlegm or cough from a cold again. The power, after all, is in your squeaky-clean hands.

Written by: Bethany Lye is a New York-based writer who contributes to MSN Health & Fitness, Health Magazine and People Magazine. 
Pat F. Bass III, MD, MS, MPH is a board certified general internist and general pediatrician and an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Louisiana State University Health Science Center- Shreveport in Shreveport, LA..P.H.

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Best CD Rates