Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Today's The Informed Patient, written by latent germophobe Laura Landro, suggests how to avoid nasty things like
  • hantavirus from mouse nests (wash your hands!);
  • salmonella from tomatoes (a fairly odd source for the bacterium; avoid bruised fruits/vegetables);
  • crypto (warning: also concerns HIV/AIDS and related behaviors) via leaky swimming diapers (don't swim in open water after a rain);
  • West Nile and Lyme disease (wear long-sleeved clothing outside); and
  • petting-zoo bugs (WASH YOUR HANDS!).
And please don't overuse the antimicrobial gels - strange and scary things can happen, as referenced by this article (a critique of which is for another day).


Anonymous said...

Thanks Hannah!

I will never not wash my hands after handling mouse nests, and I will never wear dirty diapers while swimming in open water after a rain. (I'm assuming that while it's still raining I'm ok).

My wife gave me a box of petting zoo bugs for my birthday. But I made them all wash their hands before I let them in the house.

One can never be too safe...

Elephantschild said...

My poor dear husband was struck with the last big outbreak of Crypto - Milwaukee, WI in the early 90's. Spent about a week either flat on his back or in the bathroom.

It was blamed on "cattle" and "sheep" run-off, but given Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District's propensity to bypass untreated sewage to Lake Michigan during heavy rainstorms, well... it's pretty clear the Bovidae family had nothing to do with it.

Hannah said...

EC, that incident was included in my microbiology class two (three?) summers ago. As a matter of fact, in this week's issue of WORLD is a sidebar featuring another of that micro teacher's favorite maxims: let your kids eat dirt every day and, if they have an autoimmune disease, an intentional worm infection might do the trick.

Steve, just wondering how you can enforce that each microscopic bug will wash its hands. Do they have hands?

Anonymous said...


Of course they have hands! If you dial the microscope to it's highest power you can actually see them waving at you (dirty hands and all).