Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Out-Witting the "Super-Bugs"

The headlines this week sounded the alarm about deadly antibiotic-resistant “super bugs” that have emerged from India and in recent weeks have shown up in California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

Albeit, this current alarm is somewhat reminiscent of the H1N1 (“swine flu”) alarm from last year—which, in the end (as you may recall), turned out to be a lot of unnecessary hysteria.

Nevertheless, cautionary hygiene measures are not only a wise choice, but could even make a life-and-death difference. So, wash your hands! For Pete’s sake (and yours too), wash your hands!! Soap and running water are remarkably effective in washing away those sneaky invisible bugs that lurk on every surface. And, after you have washed, go ahead and use some of that “hand sanitizer” glop, too. It can’t hurt.

However… Ahem: The truth about hand sanitizers is that they only might help . . . a little. I recently read a study on the effectiveness of hand sanitizers that found “no statistical proof” that they actually help to fight the bugs.

Unfortunately, some people erroneously think that the hand sanitizer glop is just as good as—or better than—soap and water. This is definitely not the case. Worse yet: it might even give its user a false sense of security, so that he consistently skips really washing his hands and uses this potentially ineffective glop instead. Now, think about that “health care professional” you recently visited who actually used hand sanitizer instead of soap and water! Yikes!

Now there’s a real reason for alarm!

Are you courageous enough to ask your doctor or nurse to use soap and water before they touch you to take your pulse or blood pressure or temperature or listen to your heart and lungs with their stethoscopes? And speaking of their stethoscopes, you should also ask them when they last cleaned that stethoscope! Someone did a study on stethoscopes and found them to be incredibly germy things.

Having said all that, here is another truth: washing your hands and glopping on hand sanitizers will not protect you from air-borne bugs. Cold and flu viruses are definitely air-borne.

If you have a cold or the flu you can protect others, of course, by capturing the bugs that you cough and sneeze out by using a handkerchief or your elbow sleeve. But, to keep from succumbing to those air-borne bugs in the first place, you will need to bolster your immune system.

Yes. I’m sure you know where this is heading—having repeatedly heard me on this topic. It’s hard to argue with success, however, and I speak from experience (my whole life I have been prone to getting colds, flu, and pneumonia—until I began taking Vitamin D-3). Vitamin D is essential to your immune system, and nearly all Americans are Vitamin D-deficient. The old 400 IU RDA is now known to be laughably, ridiculously low. The new cautious recommendation is 1000 IUs for children (under the age of 12) and 2000 IUs for adults. To overdose on Vitamin D, you would have to take more than 20 times that amount every day for years. Humans make at least 10,000 units of vitamin D within 30 minutes of full body exposure to the sun. If you have little, or no, sun exposure you will need to take at least 5,000 IU per day.

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shydandelion said...

You know, I remember when you first started taking VD3,and I jumped on board, and my friends laughed me to scorn! BUT, it gave me GREAT satisfaction when I found out, that after it became "official" medical knowledge, they started taking it. But, man, they gave me a lot of crap. I guess I should have found better friends! :D

"Sneaky invisible bugs..." heehee!

shydandelion said...

Oh, by the way...

Jeremy told me that he heard something on the radio that said that a grocery cart is dirty and more germ infested than a public toilet! EWWW!

Rebecca said...

when i think about all the nasty germs out there it makes me want to stay home.

When Victor got sick last year and was in the hospital I got really sick by being there... hospitals are nasty places too