Showing posts with label bacteria. Show all posts

Risks of Tanning

tanning

No matter the season, indoor tanning remains a habitual practice for many individuals. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), around one million people in the United States tan on average each day, with 28 million tanning indoors annually. Due to the consistent increase in these numbers, many questions have been raised regarding the potential risks of this popular trend.

Skin Cancer and Tanning

The practice of indoor tanning is most often associated with young girls, with the AAD reporting that 70 percent of salon goers are females between the ages of 16 and 29. However, there is no “typical” characteristic of a tanner, as both men and women, young and old, attend salons every day. Throughout the year, there are a number of occasions that patrons use as an excuse to get a tan, including prom, weddings, vacation, graduation, senior pictures, spring break, and more.

With the increased use of tanning beds comes an increase in the research conducted. Organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the National Cancer Institute, the Federal Trade Commission, and the AAD have all released statements and fact sheets regarding the risk of skin cancer that comes from UV radiation in the forms of melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Some adamant tanners choose to completely ignore the warnings that those who tan indoors before the age of 35 have a 75 percent increased chance of developing melanoma or that there is a significant increase in the risk of skin cancer for those who tan indoors more than just 10 times per year. However, it is often overlooked that the physical act of tanning may come with another set of problems.

Tanning Bed Disinfectant

In the state of Illinois, the Illinois General Assembly provides standard requirements for the sanitation of indoor tanning salons. Before providing information regarding the sanitation of the actual beds, the Tanning Facilities Code also provides specific details on the cleanliness of the restrooms, the floors, and the showers, when provided.

In regards to the cleaning of the tanning beds, the Illinois General Assembly states that all surfaces touched by clients should be sanitized after each use with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered disinfectant, and that the cloth towels used for cleaning or drying must also be washed after each use with soap or detergent. However, each individual state has its own tanning facility regulations.

The problem with the mentioned requirements is that enforcement and attention to detail are not always present. Many tanning facilities are on or near college campuses, and even when not, it is often young adults who are working in or managing the salons. Although not necessarily true for everyone, this demographic tends to focus less on the cleaning portion of the job and more on the sales and commission aspect. Also, some salons do not provide the proper training, and cases have occurred where the same cleaning rag was used on more than one bed, causing the spread of sweat, germs, and bacteria from one bed to the next.

Bacteria and Infection

Although it is difficult to track where certain skin infections come from, there are many issues aside from skin cancer that can come as a result of indoor tanning. In January 2010, research was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology regarding the issue at hand.

During the study, researchers took a culture from one tanning bed at each of 10 top-rated salons in New York City. Although no cleaning was witnessed, at least one of the sampled beds held a sign stating that the unit had been cleaned. Out of the 10 cultures, all of them grew pathogens, including pseudomonas spp. (aeruginosa and putida), Bacillus spp., enterobacter cloacae, staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), enterococcus species, and klebsiella pneumonia.

While this was a simple study, the results still show that dirty tanning beds are something to be concerned about. Other potential risks mentioned by dermatologists include warts, human papillomavirus, herpes, and tinea versicolor. Many of these thrive in warm, damp environments, and tanning beds should not be excluded.

Although it is said that there is no “safe” tan, millions of individuals will continue to make use of indoor tanning facilities. In order to best avoid risks associated with bacteria and infections, tanning in a vertical or stand-up bed is one possible option. Also, sunless spray tans are a better alternative to beds that contain UV radiation. Regardless of the occasion, tanners should be aware of the potential risk factors and make sure to weigh options before hopping into a bed for a 10 to 20 minute fake bake.

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Over-Sanitization and Its Impact on Health & the Environment

When the H1N1 pandemic struck, health authorities encouraged the use of hand sanitizers and disinfectant spray in an attempt to stem the outbreak. But while there is nothing wrong with the use of sanitizing products per se, too many people might have taken the way advice too far.

over-sanitization

Prevalence of Triclosan and Triclocarban in the Environment

Triclosan and triclocarban are two chemicals commonly used in many household cleaning products and in disinfectants – otherwise known as antimicrobials. In sufficient amounts, these two chemicals are known to cause among other things skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial and endocrine disruption.

These chemicals do not break down easily once it is washed down the drain. Traces of triclosan have been found in many of the waterways in the United States and even downstream from water treatment plants. This resilience to treatment is cause for great concern because once exposed to sunlight and water, triclosan could change into a toxin called dioxin.

High concentrations of dioxin can cause skin lesions and even alter liver functions. Long term effects of dioxin exposure could cause problems with the immune, nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems in the body. It is no accident that the majority of disinfectants have a warning label disclaiming the toxicity not mentioned in the commercials.

Don't Overuse Hand Sterilizers

Hand sanitizers that use an ethanol or alcohol base, are an effective means of reducing bacteria count on hands. However, only those with ethanol or alcohol concentrations of at least 62% are of any significant use. The effectiveness of sanitizers with anything less are comparable to washing with just plain water.

Alcohol and ethanol chemically denature proteins. Denaturing occurs when a protein is subject to outside chemical or temperature stresses. Frying an egg on a pan is an example of heat-based denaturing. Exactly like how lime juice "cooks" a piece of salmon, alcohol and ethanol literally cooks bacteria off by denaturing the protein found in all bacteria.

Great care must be taken when choosing hand sanitizers. While most commercial hand sanitizers incorporate moisturizers, some do not. Originally used by medical personnel to sterilize their hands between patients, hand sanitizers without a moisturizing component can cause excessive dryness and, in extreme cases, dermititis, or commonly known as rashes.

Over-Sanitization on Children

The risk is even greater for young children. According to a guide by the Department of Health and Senior Services in the State of Missouri:
All sanitizers are classified as a pesticide. If the wrong product is used, or is mixed too strong, it could be toxic to children. Young children absorb chemicals into their bodies easier than older children and adults. Because of their small body size, a small amount of any chemical has a much greater affect on them than adults.

Understandably, home makers want to ensure that their households are clean and free from bacteria. But it seems that the cure could be more dangerous than the problem.

Furthermore, in the effort to achieve new heights of clinical sterility, children are developing weaker and weaker immune systems. Because their bodies are not given the chance to come into contact with as many types of bacteria, their immune systems become under-developed and weak. Weak immune systems translate into more illnesses later in life when they leave their sterile environment.

Back to the Basics of Cleanliness

But no one is suggesting a spit and polish approach to house cleaning either. Not that it is inherently bad to use sanitizing products but moderation is key here. Soap and warm water is still an effective means of removing a vast majority of bacteria harmful to health. There is no need to perforate every inch of the house with disinfectant to stay healthy.

And while hand sanitizers are a convenient means of cleaning hands in the absence of soap and water, they are not a substitute. Hand sanitizers were originally intended to eliminate the chance of cross-contamination in hospitals where the patients either have weak or no immune defences. Instead of using obsessively using hand sanitizers, simply practice the recommended steps of safe hygiene like sneezing into elbows (instead of the hand) or staying home when sick.

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Antibiotics and How They Work

antibiotics

Since their development, antibiotics are the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Ironically, the term antibiotics means "against life," but that couldn't be further from the truth. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of diseases like diphtheria and tuberculosis, but they're most frequently prescribed to fight the generous multitudes of classified infections. And what's most amazing is that only about 70 years ago, these medical maladies were killing tens of thousands of people every year.

Chronicle of the History of Antibiotics

Historical documentation cites that during World War I many soldiers died due to infections from their wounds. At that time there was only one drug used in an attempt to address infections and other war-related diseases, like dysentery and syphilis. The drug was an arsenic-based medicine called Salvarsan, but its effectiveness was not very high.

Antibiotics were discovered in 1929, decisively on accident, when the British scientist Alexander Fleming realized that a mold, Penicillium, had inadvertently found its way into a Petri dish containing bacteria. Fleming found that the mold compound halted the bacterial growth and eventually killed it. He then tested it on various other forms of bacteria and he recognized its potential, but was unable to develop it any further.

Years later in 1938, a German biochemist, Ernst Chain, and Australian pathologist, Howard Florey, began working to advance and promote Fleming's research. Two years later, in 1940 they announced the production of the first penicillin antibiotic.

Use of Antibiotics

The first person to receive antibiotic treatment was a British policeman who had severe infections of the head, face and lungs. His recovery results amazed the entire medical community, but there were not sufficient amounts of antibiotic available and the man died a month later. In 1940 the war threatened to politically convolute the production of the newly conceived penicillium, so Florey and Chain rather quietly continued their efforts. Great Britain could not afford to produce the new drug, so the United States ultimately became its country of origin and mass production.

Among the diseases antibiotics were initially successful in treating were pneumonia, diphtheria, syphilis and meningitis, but now there are a forever-growing variety antibiotics being produced. In the late 1980s, synthetic antibiotics, known as quinolones, were being introduced to treat specific new strains of infection. Since, scientific research reflect, the reason these antibiotics work so well is because bacteria cannot build a resistance to them.

How Antibiotics Work

Antibiotics work by killing off the bacteria infecting the patient's normal body function. Infections can only take a strong-hold if the bacteria that causes them is allowed to reproduce. It is the mass reproduction of bacteria that enables an infection to annihilate a human body.

Penicillin interferes with the construction of bacterial cell walls during formation, allowing the bacteria to leak out, displace and die. Other forms of antibiotics actually poison bacterial components, destroying the proteins they need to reproduce. And yet other types of the drug interfere with the genetic code necessary for the bacteria to reproduce.

The risky factor when new antibiotics are developed is ensuring they do not actually destroy the body's useful bacteria. If this happens in a patient, he is then diagnosed as having what is medically described as a secondary infection. But the most troublesome quandary of the antibiotic research and development scientist is that bacterias continually adapt, evolve and build resistance. Therefore the production of new, more effective antibiotics is an ongoing struggle.

Very often patients leave their doctors' offices feeling confused by explanations and/or complicated answers to simple questions. It does not take a medical degree to gain a basic comprehension of antibiotics and how they work, and for most people simply having a layperson's understanding is all that is needed.
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Brush Your Teeth to Beat Heart Disease


It is a fact that keeping up with your day by day dental hygiene helps you avoid heart attacks. The links between gum disease and heart problems have been getting a brush up recently, and now it’s been proved. Cleaning your teeth twice a day reduces your risk by 70%. Poor oral hygiene increases bacteria that causes soreness in the body responsible for pump disease. So avoid heart problems and develop a Hollywood grin with just two brushes a day and you will have a pretty and healthy smile.
Teeth Brushing
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Prevention of Winter Flu and Bacteria


Mushrooms. They contain proteins called cytokines that could assist the body in defending itself against viruses. These beneficial effects you may find in ordinary button mushrooms, available at your local supermarket.

Flu Prevention

Probiotic Yogurt. Researchers have found that a daily probiotic yoghurt drink prevents diarrhea, one of the symptoms of gastroenteritis, otherwise known as stomach flu.
 Flu Prevention

Chamomile Tea. Scientists from London found that men who drank five cups of the herbal tea each day had significantly higher levels of phenols - antibacterial substances which assist in fighting the colds and diseases.
 Flu Prevention

Brazil Nuts. The micronutrient selenium provides you with all-round protection against influenza. Three Brazil nuts per day will give you the recommended daily amount.
 Flu Prevention
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