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...that Google.org/flutrends tracks people searching for flu symptoms in different locations and states and can offer early warning and trends of outbreaks in your area?
Due to my detox (lasted 3 days total, caved in, but still had huge benefits mentally from it) my eyes were opened up to many things. Germs to be exact. I thought about what foods I could live without and I thought about how amazing the human body is. How little we need to function and thrive is amazing. I realized there are just too many commercials out there telling us we NEED to eat this and that, when really - we don't.
When I was cleansing my body, I was also cleansing my mind too. Since I didn't have to really think about what my next meal was going to be - besides cooking for the family - I really had time to just focus on what purpose my body serves. At the same time of feeling completely vulnerable I felt completely in power of my actions and movements and it was like I had Spidey Sense. Everything was crystal clear to me. Not "Help! Somebody! That man stole my purse!" across town kind of sense, but just a clearer perspective on my environment. I can liken it to the Mom goggles I acquired after giving birth to my first child. I saw every germ within a 10 yard radius and from a mile away I could tell if I would need a Sani-wipe, antibacterial gel - or both.
But is that a bad thing? SELF magazine polled it's readers and almost 1 in 10 said they avoid shaking hands. What do the Docs say? Mental health professionals agree that, in people more vulnerable extreme germ awareness can be a catalyst to a smorgasbord of anxiety ailments. Women are already prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) which can involve constant hand washing and fear of contamination. (I'm about 3 hand washings a day away from having this illness...) Joshua Fox, M.D., a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology says hands that are dry and cracked from overwashing are more likely to pick up an infection through openings in the skin. Hmm....never thought of it that way. Here's something else that I learned, we actually live in a world where staph infections kill more people each year than AIDS. Whoa...that's crazy...
All is not lost though. We are all not doomed to be taken over by giant unrelenting germs. Our body is covered in bacteria already. To the tune of billions on our skin and trillions in our intestines. Yet they still manage to live in a great symbiotic relationship with us helping us digest our food, absorb vitamins and stave off infection. If a germ really wants to get us, it has some pretty formidable opponents up against it.
After reading about all that bacteria, it put my mind at ease that our defense mechanism is wonderfully made and it's really the reason that more sickly people aren't walking around here all the time. There are some precautions we can take too to ensure that we are doing our best to stay healthy. Here are a few questions answered:
Is it safe to eat food off the floor using the 5 Second Rule? Short answer, no. Researchers @ Clemson University in S. Carolina put the rule to the test and came to the conclusion that although the number of bacteria on the food did increase with time, potentially illness-causing contamination was virtually instantaneous. "If you drop food, the best policy is not to eat it," says Paul Dawson, Ph.D. from Clemson University.
Could kissing my doggie make me sick?
Short answer, yes. Salmonella and roundworm can be passed between species. The American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, Illinois, warns against putting your mouth on any part of your pet. I don't have any animals, so this whole concept is lost on me.
What's the single germiest surface that I touch daily? Not your toilet seat surprisingly enough. Chuck Gerba, Ph. D. cites home offices, teachers' desks and kitchen sinks - which due to coming in contact with raw food, harbor more fecal bacteria than the toilet bowl! Blech! Let's eat out tonight - just don't use the salt shakers!
I'm glad you read this far... I guess what I really learned about germs and how to stay sane in this insane world is to just do what comes naturally...wash your hands and make sure you do it in moderation.
There are a whole slew of "germ crazy" things I do. Here's a few: push elevator buttons with my knuckles, flush toilets with my feet, never touch public bathroom door handles, punch the buttons on the card swipe thing @ the cash register with my knuckles.....what about you guys? Anything you do that could label you 'certifiable'? Let me know.
Take care all.
Music: Counting Crows "Big Yellow Taxi". All medical references from Self magazine article (Feb. 2009) Germaphobia by Maryn McKenna. Pics from 123rf.com