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Fun Fact Friday

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts all contain a little bit of cyanide. Eating them primes your liver to deal better with other poisons.

  • Only 6 percent of doctors today are happy with their jobs.

  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

 

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Sleep makes you more creative and makes your memories stronger.

  • Coffee can lower your risk of tooth decay.

Happy Friday!

 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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6 Purely Psychological Effects of Washing Your Hands

Washing your hands doesn’t just keep you healthier; it has all sorts of subtle psychological effects as well.

Hand washing sends an unconscious metaphorical message to the mind: we don’t just cleanse ourselves of physical residues, we also cleanse ourselves of mental residues.

So, here are six purely psychological effects of washing your hands…

1. Recover optimism

Washing your hands can wash away the feeling of failure.

In a study by Kaspar (2012) participants who failed at a task, then washed their hands, felt more optimistic afterwards than those who didn’t.

Unfortunately washing their hands also seemed to reduce their motivation for trying the task again.

Still, hand washing can help boost optimism after a failure.

2. Feel less guilty

In the mind, dirt is associated with guilt, so theoretically washing doesn’t just remove dirt, it also removes a guilty feeling.

One study had participants think about some immoral behaviour from their past (Zhong & Liljenquist, 2006). One group were then told to use an antiseptic wipe, and another not.

Those who washed their hands after thinking about an immoral behaviour felt less guilty. The antiseptic wipe had literally wiped away their guilt.

3. Take the moral high ground

Feeling clean directly affects our view of other people.

When people in one study washed their hands, they were more disgusted by the bad behaviour of others (Zhong, Strejcek & Sivanathan, 2010):

“…”clean” participants made harsher moral judgments on a wide range of issues, from abortion to drug use and masturbation. They also rated their own moral character more favorably in comparison with that of their fellow students.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

So, when people feel clean themselves, they take the moral high ground and are harsher on the transgressive behaviour of others.

 
Wash your hands, wash your mind: recover optimism, feel less guilty, less doubtful and more…
 

4. Remove doubt

Sometimes, after people make the wrong decision, they try to justify it by pretending it was the right decision.

It’s a result of cognitive dissonance, and it’s one way in which people lie to themselves.

However, hand washing may wipe away the need for self-justification in some circumstances, leaving you better able to evaluate your decision the way it really is (Lee & Schwarz, 2010).

5. Wash away bad luck

Washing the hands can mentally wipe away the effects of perceived bad luck.

When participants in one study had some experimentally induced ‘bad luck’ while gambling, washing their hands seemed to mentally wash away their bad luck (Xu et al., 2012).

In comparison to those who didn’t wash their hands, hand washers carried on betting as if their bad luck was forgotten.

6. Guilt other people into washing their hands

Apart from its psychological effects, hand washing is the cheapest and best way of controlling the spread of things like colds and other infectious diseases.

So, getting people to wash their hands is really important.

To this end, a public health study flashed different messages onto the walls of public toilets as people entered, including “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does,” and “Don’t be a dirty soap dodger.” (Judah et al., 2009)

The most effective overall message, though, was: “Is the person next to you washing with soap?”

So it seems when you wash your hands in a public toilet, you help guilt other people into washing theirs as well.

Not only are you staying healthy, you’re also doing a public service by shaming others into following suit.

A clean slate

All these studies are demonstrating that when we wash our hands, we also wash our minds clean:

“…the notion of washing away one’s sins, entailed in the moral-purity metaphor, seems to have generalized to a broader conceptualization of wiping the slate clean, allowing people to metaphorically remove a potentially broad range of psychological residues.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog.  
source: PsyBlog


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Vancouver hospital first in Canada to use bug-killing robot armed with UV light

JAMES KELLER / THE CANADIAN PRESS      FEBRUARY 1, 2013

VANCOUVER – When Trudi the robot is plugged in and armed, it sounds more like a space shuttle launch system than a germ-killing machine.

“Disinfecting will commence in 15 seconds; please leave the room,” Trudi — as staff at Vancouver General Hospital have named it — calls out in a digital monotone from inside a treatment room.

“Disinfecting process started,” it continues, as its thin, vertical bulbs blast out powerful ultraviolet rays, killing germs and viruses that might be lurking nearby.

The hospital is the first facility in Canada to use Trudi — whose formal name is Tru-D SmartUVC — as health officials across the country look for ways to protect vulnerable patients from catching potentially deadly bugs such as norovirus and C. difficile.

Health officials in British Columbia have started a pilot project that will see Tru-D and a similar device each tested for five months to determine whether the technology should be used permanently in health-care facilities in the province.

“We’ve been very impressed with the almost complete eradication of organisms, even when we take it to high concentrations,” Dr. Elizabeth Bryce, the medical director for infection control at Vancouver Coastal Health, said after a demonstration of the device on Friday.

“We hope it will decrease the rates of hospital-acquired organisms like superbugs.”

The Tru-D device is 1.65 metres tall with long bulbs running vertically up a round, clear shaft — think R2-D2 from “Star Wars” instead of Rosie from “The Jetsons.” It can’t move on its own and must be manually wheeled from room to room.

A GERM-KILLING, UV-RAY-BLASTING ROBOT RADIATES LIGHT IN A PHOTO.
THE HOSPITAL HAS BECOME THE FIRST IN CANADA TO TEST THE ROBOT,
 THAT HOSPITAL STAFF HAVE NAMED TRUDI.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/JAMES KELLER

A large sensor on the top of the device measures reflections from the UV light to determine the size of the room and how much exposure will be required to disinfect it. The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

It must be used in an empty room that has already been cleaned by hospital staff, said Bryce, providing an extra layer of disinfection rather than replacing existing cleaning.

The five-month pilot project started in January. When that trial is finished, another UV disinfection device, PulseRx, will also be tested.

The results will determine whether the provincial government commits to permanently using either of the devices, which can cost up to $100,000 apiece.

Bryce said the hospital has actually been using Tru-D for the past three months. It asked the company for its test model early as it dealt with the recent norovirus outbreak late last year.

“We did use it in the norovirus season as an add-on to the cleaning, and we’re very pleased with that, as well,” she said.

The Vancouver General Hospital was among many hospitals across Canada to be hit with a norovirus outbreak in recent months, with infection rates several times higher than average in some places.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control announced in early January that a busier-than-normal norovirus season was being complicated by the discovery of a new strain of the illness.

Health officials issued their usual cautions that anyone with norovirus should stay away from hospitals to avoid spreading it to other patients.

Tru-D is already being used in the United States and elsewhere, and Bryce said preliminary results from those jurisdiction is encouraging.

She noted hospitals already use UV light to sterilize medical equipment, so using the technology to disinfect entire rooms isn’t a stretch.

“UV is not new as a disinfection technology, but it’s new in being applied to cleaning patient rooms,” she said.


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Travel Tips: The Dirt on Hotels

Tip Sheet  

Tip #1: Bag in ice bucket

In case the ice bucket in your hotel room isn’t clean, be sure to use plastic bags that are provided before filling with ice.

Tip #2: Bed

Marketplace found almost half of comforters had coliform, a sign of fecal contamination.

There are various things you can pick up, microbiologist Keith Warriner says.

“One is very direct which is if we have an open cut…then it can actually get into that wound and start causing an infection.”

His suggestion? “It’s always a good idea to wear pyjamas, not go commando.”

 

 

Tip #3: Coffee maker in the bathroom

Avoid using coffee makers and ice buckets that are stored in hotel bathrooms. When you flush the toilet, it sprays bacteria into the air – including fecal contamination.

Tip #4: Tissue holder

Toss out the first tissue. It can have aerosol contamination from the toilet. It can also harbour bacteria from previous guests – someone with a cold, or flu.

Also, many tissue holders we tested weren’t clean. So, you might want to give the container a quick wipe down.

Tip #5: Glasses

Plastic cups are quite often found in hotel rooms, to decrease cross-contamination risk.

If you’re not sure about your glasses provided (especially ones in bathrooms), rinse with hot water, or ask for fresh ones.

 

Tip #6: Luggage rack

Use it! Placing your suitcase on the bed or carpet is a good way to pick up bugs. WE did not find bed bugs on our three-city test, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

source: CBC Marketplace


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Travel Tips: The Dirt on Hotels

Tip Sheet  
Tip #1: Bag in ice bucket
In case the ice bucket in your hotel room isn’t clean, be sure to use plastic bags that are provided before filling with ice.
Tip #2: Bed
Marketplace found almost half of comforters had coliform, a sign of fecal contamination.
There are various things you can pick up, microbiologist Keith Warriner says.
“One is very direct which is if we have an open cut…then it can actually get into that wound and start causing an infection.”
His suggestion? “It’s always a good idea to wear pyjamas, not go commando.”

Tip #3: Coffee maker in the bathroom
Avoid using coffee makers and ice buckets that are stored in hotel bathrooms. When you flush the toilet, it sprays bacteria into the air – including fecal contamination.
Tip #4: Tissue holder

Toss out the first tissue. It can have aerosol contamination from the toilet. It can also harbour bacteria from previous guests – someone with a cold, or flu.
Also, many tissue holders we tested weren’t clean. So, you might want to give the container a quick wipe down.
Tip #5: Glasses
Plastic cups are quite often found in hotel rooms, to decrease cross-contamination risk.
If you’re not sure about your glasses provided (especially ones in bathrooms), rinse with hot water, or ask for fresh ones.

Tip #6: Luggage rack
Use it! Placing your suitcase on the bed or carpet is a good way to pick up bugs. WE did not find bed bugs on our three-city test, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.


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How to Stay Healthy at Christmas

With all of its decadent foods, parties and related errands, Christmas is enough to put anyone at risk of getting sick. However, you can stay healthy during the entire holiday season if you know what to do and how to protect yourself.


Eat a healthy diet. Remember to eat plenty of vegetables (raw or cooked), low fat meats (such as white meat turkey), fruits (such as citrus fruits) and whole grains. If you would like to have a Christmas treat, such as a sugar cookie, a slice of pie or candy, limit your portion size. Eating healthy foods during Christmas will give you energy and help keep you healthy at the same time.

Get plenty of rest. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep every night during the holiday season. If you feel tired and need to take a nap during the day, try your best to do so. Also, try not to overexert yourself during the holiday season. If you need extra rest, remember that you don’t have to go to every holiday event or party you receive an invitation to. Staying well rested during the Christmas season goes a long way towards keeping you healthy.

Protect yourself from germs. Be sure to always wash your hands especially after using the bathroom and before handling any food. Use antibacterial wipes or gels for quick hand cleaning on the go. Also, try to avoid those that you know are sick to prevent yourself from getting sick as well.


Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink. If you do drink during the holidays, remember to alternate non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic ones and not to drink on an empty stomach. If you do drink at a Christmas party, remember to have a designated sober person drive you home.

Limit your Christmas stress. One way to do this is to plan ahead. Shop for Christmas gifts throughout the year. Mail your Christmas cards early and wrap Christmas presents throughout the month of December. If you can plan ahead and get things done without having to worry about time constraints, you will lower your stress level and increase your chances of staying healthy at Christmas.

Tips & Warnings
Remember to keep up with your regular exercise routine. Staying active will help you feel better and help keep you healthy at Christmas time. Try to exercise outside if you can. Exposure to natural light can also help keep you healthy.

By an eHow Contributor

source: eHow.com


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The 8 germiest places in the mall

By Cari Wira Dineen, Health.com
November 26, 2011

(Health.com) — During the craziness of the holidays, the last thing you want is to get sidelined with a cold, flu, stomach bug — or worse. But while you’re checking items off your shopping list, you may be exposing yourself to germs — like flu viruses, E. coli, and staph — that can make you sick.

“Anywhere people gather is filled with bacteria and viruses, and a crowded shopping mall is a perfect example,” says Philip Tierno, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center.

With that in mind, we asked a panel of experts to rank the worst germ hot spots at your local shopping center. Check out the ewww-inducing results — and tips for keeping yourself in the clear.

1. Restroom sinks
The filthiest area in a restroom (and therefore in the whole mall) isn’t the toilet handle or the doorknob — it’s the sink, our experts say. Bacteria, including E. coli, fester on the faucet and handles because people touch those surfaces right after using the toilet, explains panelist Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona.
“The sink area is a moist environment, so bacteria can survive longer there,” he adds.
Watch out for soap dispensers, too — not only are they handled by many dirty hands, but the soap itself may harbor germs. When Gerba’s team tested liquid soap from refillable dispensers in public bathrooms, they found that one in four contained unsafe levels of bacteria.
Protect yourself: Wash your hands thoroughly after using a public loo: Lather with soap for at least 20 seconds, then rinse well. Use a paper towel to turn off the water and open the door. If there’s no soap or paper towels, kill germs with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, using at least a tablespoon of product.
Gerba also advises avoiding refillable soap dispensers (usually made of clear plastic with a removable lid) and only using liquid soap that comes in a sealed refill; if that’s not an option or you’re not sure, follow up with hand sanitizer.

2. Food court tables
Even if you see the table being wiped down, that doesn’t mean it’s clean, says panelist Elaine Larson, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University: “The rags themselves can actually spread harmful bacteria such as E. coli if they are not changed and washed regularly.”
Protect yourself: Consider stashing a pack of hard-surface disinfecting wipes in your purse so you can swipe the table before you sit down. “Look for ones that contain alcohol or another disinfecting agent in order to make sure you’re killing germs, not just wiping away grime,” Tierno says.

3. Escalator handrails
“In our testing, we have found food, E. coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood on escalator handrails,” says Gerba. “And where there is mucus, you may also find cold and flu viruses.” Tierno concurs: “We’ve found respiratory flora on handrails,” he says, “which makes sense because people cough into their hands, then touch the rails.”
Protect yourself: Play it safe: Avoid touching handrails altogether, recommends Gerba, unless you absolutely have to — in which case, give yourself a generous squirt of hand sanitizer afterward.

4. ATM keypads
After testing 38 ATMs in downtown Taipei, Chinese researchers found that each key contained an average of 1,200 germs, including illness-inducing microbes like E. coli and cold and flu viruses, Tierno says. The worst key of all? The “enter” button, because everyone has to touch it, Gerba points out.
Protect yourself: “Knuckle” ATM buttons — you’ll avoid getting germs on your fingertips, which are more likely to find their way to your nose and mouth than your knuckles. And be sure to wash your hands or use sanitizer afterward.

5. Toy stores
Toy stores can actually be germier than play areas, carousels, and other kid-friendly zones, Tierno says, simply because of the way little ones behave there. “Kids lick toys, roll them on their heads, and rub them on their faces, and all that leaves a plethora of germs on the toys,” he says. The goods their parents don’t buy end up back on the shelves, where your kid finds them.
Protect yourself: If you make a purchase, wipe down any toy that isn’t in a sealed box or package with soap and water, alcohol, or vinegar (which has antimicrobial properties) before giving it to your child. And, of course, reach for the hand sanitizer after you’ve been hands-on in the toy aisle.

6. Fitting rooms
You won’t pick up much from the hooks or the chair. The germ culprit? What you try on.
“After people try on clothing, skin cells and perspiration can accumulate on the inside,” says Tierno. “Both can serve as food for bacterial growth.” You can even pick up antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), just by trying on clothes, says Tierno.
Protect yourself: Always wear full-coverage underwear (no thongs!) when trying on clothes, especially pants, bathing suits, and any other garment that touches your genitals or rectum. Bandage cuts or scrapes before trying on clothes, as “open wounds can be a gateway to dangerous bacteria,” Tierno says. And be sure to wash new clothes before you wear them.

7. Gadget shops
While you’re playing around on that new smartphone, you could be picking up germs from the thousand people who tested it out before you. “Most stores do clean their equipment,” says Tierno, “but they certainly don’t clean after each use.”

A study published last year in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that viruses easily transfer between glass surfaces (think iPad or smartphone faces) and fingertips. And a recent report found that of four iPads swabbed in two Apple stores located in New York City, one contained Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of staph infections, while another registered a bacteria associated with skin rash. That’s not even counting the cold and flu germs that might be lurking.

Protect yourself: Before you try out the latest gizmo, quickly wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe. And (yes, once again) use a hand sanitizer after you’re done.

8. Makeup samples
Heading to the makeup counter? You might end up picking up a staph infection right along with the latest lipstick shade. A 2005 study found that between 67% and 100% of makeup-counter testers were contaminated with bacteria, including staph, strep, and E. coli. “This study shows us that someone was sick or went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands, and then stuck their finger in the sample,” Tierno says.
Protect yourself: “Avoid using public makeup samples to apply cosmetics to your lips, eyes, or face,” says Tierno, who suggests asking for a single-use unit (you open it, try it, and throw it away). If that’s not available, use a tissue to wipe off the sample and then apply the product to the back of your hand.

The best line of defense: Buy then try. Returning stuff to the store may be a little more of a hassle, but it’s a heck of a lot better than bringing home a nasty bug.

Health Magazine 2011
source: CNN