I just came back from vacation. Between airports, restaurants and public attractions, I washed my hands in a lot of public restrooms. I noticed that more places, especially newer ones, have installed high-tech hand dryers rather than paper towel dispensers. Some have both.
I usually use a paper towel because it’s faster and I can use it on the handle of the restroom as I’m leaving.
But I’ve never really considered if there’s a health difference between the two ways to dry your hands. Apparently, there is.
A recent study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology compared how many germs … Continue reading
Last month, a medical advisory group to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted “overwhelmingly” to limit the sale of codeine products without a prescription and advised “drugs containing codeine should not be used to treat children or the majority of teens suffering from pain or a cough.” [my emphasis]
I knew you could buy codeine painkillers and cough syrups in Canada, but apparently you can in 28 states, as well. The FDA hasn’t acted on the advisory committee’s recommendation yet, so these products are still available over the counter.
Parents—be especially cautious when buying cough or cold medications … Continue reading
Cold and flu season is in full swing!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released a public service announcement with tips to help people stay healthy this winter.
In addition to what we already know—but the basics bear repeating—such as get a flu shot and wash your hands frequently, their web page Get Set For a Healthy Winter Season also provides information about what to do if you’re already sick, how to choose over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu products, and when you should seek medical care.
Related post: Be informed – The best cold and flu medicines
The … Continue reading
I just learned that it’s National Handwashing Awareness Week!
That works in nicely with it also being National Flu Vaccination Week, as handwashing is your first line of defense against not only the flu virus, but all sorts of germs.
Related post: Handwashing 101
The Henry the Hand Prevention Program, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), offers these 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
2. DO NOT cough into your hands
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
4. Above all, DO NOT
… Continue reading
Every fall I post my recommendation that everyone get a flu shot.
In support of this week being National Influenza Vaccination Week (what, you haven’t heard?), here is a pretty cool animated video from NPR: Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which sponsors Vaccination Week, offers these key points on their seasonal flu webpage:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease.
- CDC and its partners want
… Continue reading
Most doctors will advise you to stay home from work or school if you are sick. Not only do you need the rest, but if you are contagious with a cold or the flu or a stomach bug, you will pass your germs to many more people.
Well, apparently doctors don’t take their own advice!
A recent survey showed that most doctors do go to work when sick, even though they know they could infect their co-workers or patients.
A full 96 percent said they would work if they had symptoms of a cold, 77 percent said they would
… Continue reading
It’s October and time for my annual reminder for everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot!
Flu season typically runs from November to March, but no one can predict with accuracy exactly when the first cases will start showing up or when the season will end—sometimes as early as October to as late as May. It’s unpredictable as well how severe the upcoming flu season will be, so just assume it will be a bad and early flu season and prepare accordingly.
In other words, get your flu shot now. And remember to always wash your … Continue reading
It’s September and the kids are back in school!
Few things are germier than a school where lots of kids and adults are stuck in small rooms, touching the same objects and breathing the same air.
Then the kids bring those germs home on their hands and touch everything there, too.
Colds are miserable for children and parents alike, and missing work—whether a parent gets sick or has to stay home to care for a sick child—is a problem for many families.
It’s impossible to avoid every cold, and it’s probably better for our immune systems to get sick now … Continue reading
I very much agreed with the author of the recent article in The Atlantic titled The Cold-Medicine Racket.
There are now hundreds of flashy “cold and flu” products, but still only a handful of simple, cheap ingredients.
Yes! Every time I’m at the grocery or drug store I see displays and shelves full of the latest and greatest cold products, and I’m always stunned by how much they cost.
I’ve posted many times about these pricey over-the-counter drugs: what works, what doesn’t, and which products are the best value.
Related post: Save money on cold medications
First, I would … Continue reading
Not as effective, but still helpful
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a health advisory. It appears this year’s flu vaccine is not a great genetic match for the majority of flu cases seen thus far. This is called a virus “drift.”
That’s too bad, but because the flu vaccine is made before the flu season starts, it’s always a bit of an educated guess. Some years are a better match than others.
Related post: Get your seasonal flu shot
The media has been reporting that the vaccine is less effective this year, and perhaps you … Continue reading