Amish children have lowest rate of allergies

 

The Amish, in particular, Amish children, don’t get allergies — not like the rest of the general population, that is.

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How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora Unfriendly

Two studies published in the past six months reveal a disturbing finding: glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® appear to suppress the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to the overgrowth of extremely pathogenic bacteria.

Late last year, in an article titled Roundup Herbicide Linked to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria, Continue reading

4 Ways Probiotics Can Reduce Infections, Flus and Colds

Probiotics are bacteria or yeast introduced to the body to aid in total body health.

It may seem counterproductive to purposely consume microorganisms but our body naturally contains many beneficial bacteria – the digestive system alone contains more than 500 such organisms – that help to keep our complex processes running smoothly.

Maintaining the proper balance is crucial to our health. Both good and Continue reading

10 Common Phobias

Terrified of the creepy-crawlies? Scared of slithering serpents? Well, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, phobias affect approximately 10% of adults. There are a number of explanations for why phobias develop, including evolutionary and behavioral theories. Continue reading

Natural Disinfectants Win Over Toxic Chemical Disinfectants in Studies

If you have never considered using a natural disinfectant – perhaps you should. Recent studies have shown that 40% of cleansers and disinfectants sold in stores are ineffective against germs and bacteria!

Noroviruses – the viruses responsible for more than half the cases of food poisoning and stomach flu – are only eliminated with bleach-based cleaners.

In the United States, 21 million people are infected every year with noroviruses.

Professor Julie Jean at Université Laval Agriculture and Food Sciences was part Continue reading

Do You Really Need a Flu Shot?

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The government and pharmaceutical companies relentlessly promote flu shots every year, insisting that supposedly “high risk” groups like pregnant women, children less than 5 years of age (especially under the age of 2) and everyone over age 50 should be vaccinated. But there are serious questions about the advisability of these shots. In some cases, a flu shot may interfere with immunity rather than boost it. Continue reading

The Benefits of Plain Old Soap and Water

This health e-letter addresses the recent craze for the use of antibacterial soaps in the war against germs. You see them everywhere. They can be found in friends’ and family members’ homes, in the library soap dispenser, in schools, and public washrooms.

What’s responsible for this recent fad? According to many commercials, you need antibacterial soap to kill all the bad bacteria that are out there waiting to cause disease. Ads promote antibacterial cleansers that kill 99.9% of bacteria.

This sounds great, except that not all bacteria are bad. And consider this health advice: repeated use of antibacterial agents can cause those bacteria that are harmful to become resistant. Continue reading

The Best Way to Treat a Child’s Fever

If your child’s temperature was 100.3 degrees, would you consider that a fever? Would you wake him or her to administer an anti-fever medication? If you answered yes to both questions, you have a lot of company. You are also wrong.

A study published in the March issue of the Journal Pediatrics found that roughly half of all parents erroneously believe a body temperature of less than 100.4 degrees is a fever and about 85 percent say they would wake a sleeping child to give medication to lower his temperature. Another one-quarter said they would give OTC anti-fever medicines to kids with temperatures below 100 degrees.

Not only does the study suggest that Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad overreact when they think  Continue reading

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms in them. These harmful germs can include bacteria, parasites, and viruses. They are mostly found in raw meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, but they can spread to any type of food. They can also grow on food that is left out on counters or outdoors or is stored too long before you eat it. Sometimes food poisoning happens when people do not wash their hands before they touch food.

Most of the time, food poisoning is mild and goes away after a few days. All you can do is wait for your body to get rid of the germ that is causing the illness. But some types of food poisoning may be more serious, and you may need to see a doctor.

What are the symptoms?

The first symptom of food poisoning is usually diarrhea. You may also feel sick to your stomach, vomit, or have stomach cramps. How you feel when you have food poisoning mostly depends on how healthy you are and what germ is making you sick.

If you vomit or have diarrhea a lot, you can get dehydrated. Dehydration means that your body has lost too much fluid. Watch for signs of dehydration, which include having a dry mouth, feeling lightheaded, and passing only a little dark urine. Children and the elderly can get dehydrated very quickly and should be watched closely. Pregnant women should always call a doctor if they think they may have food poisoning.

How do harmful germs get into food?

Germs can get into food when:

  • Meat is processed. It is normal to find bacteria in the intestines of healthy animals that we use for food. Sometimes the bacteria get mixed up with the parts of those animals that we eat.
  • The food is watered or washed. If the water used to irrigate or wash fresh fruits and vegetables has germs from animal manure or human sewage in it, those germs can get on the fruits and vegetables.
  • The food is prepared. When someone who has germs on his or her hands touches the food, or if the food touches other food that has germs on it, the germs can spread. For example, if you use the same cutting board for chopping vegetables and preparing raw meat, germs from the raw meat can get on the vegetables.

How will you know if you have food poisoning?

Because most food poisoning is mild and goes away after a few days, most people do not go to the doctor. You can usually assume that you have food poisoning if other people who ate the same food also got sick.

If you think you have food poisoning, call your local health department to report it. This could help keep others from getting sick.

Call your doctor if you think you may have a serious illness. If your diarrhea or vomiting is very bad or if you do not start to get better after a few days, you may need to see your doctor.

If you do go to the doctor, he or she will ask you about your symptoms (diarrhea, feeling sick to your stomach, or throwing up), ask about your health in general, and do a physical exam. Your doctor will ask about where you have been eating and whether anyone who ate the same foods is also sick. Sometimes the doctor will take stool or blood samples and have them tested.

How is it treated?

In most cases, food poisoning goes away on its own in 2 to 3 days. All you need to do is rest and get plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink a cup of water or rehydration drink (such as Lytren, Pedialyte, or Rehydralyte) each time you have a large, loose stool. You can also use a sports drink, such as Gatorade. Soda and fruit juices have too much sugar and should not be used to rehydrate. Doctors recommend trying to eat normally as soon as possible. When you can eat without vomiting, try to eat the kind of foods you usually do. But try to stay away from foods that are high in fat or sugar.

Antibiotics are usually not used to treat food poisoning. Medicines that stop diarrhea (antidiarrheals) can be helpful, but they should not be given to infants or young children.

If you think you are severely dehydrated, you may need to go to the hospital. And in some severe cases, such as for botulism or E. coli infection, you may need medical care right away.

How can you prevent food poisoning?

You can prevent most cases of food poisoning with these simple steps:

  • Clean. Wash your hands often and always before you touch food. Keep your knives, cutting boards, and counters clean. You can wash them with hot, soapy water, or put items in the dishwasher and use a disinfectant on your counter. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Separate. Keep germs from raw meat from getting on fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, not back on the one that held the raw meat.
  • Cook. Make sure that meat, chicken, fish, and eggs are fully cooked.
  • Chill. Refrigerate leftovers right away. Don’t leave cut fruits and vegetables at room temperature for a long time.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. If you are not sure if a food is safe, don’t eat it.

4 of the Most Dangerous Myths about Washing Your Hands

Hot water is better than cold water for effective hand washing

Scientists have found that various temperatures had “no effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction.” Not only does hot water not show any benefit, but it might increase the “irritant capacity” of some soaps, causing dermatitis.

Hand sanitizers kill germs more effectively than soap

Using alcohol-based hand-hygiene products is in general not more effective than washing your hands with plain soap and water.

Frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizers promotes healthy skin

In fact, contact dermatitis can develop from frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products, exposure to chemicals and glove use.

Soap with triclosan is an effective antimicrobial for handwashing

A recent study compared an antibacterial soap containing triclosan with a non-antibacterial soap.  The results showed that the antibacterial soap did not provide any additional benefit.  In addition, concerns have been raised about the use of triclosan because of the potential development of bacterial resistance.

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Did you know that antibacterial soaps are tied to a public health crisis?  It’s true. The fervent use of antibacterial soaps and other antimicrobial products significantly contribute to a growing scourge: antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic-resistant disease is a problem that few pay attention to, despite the fact that it’s been a known, growing phenomenon for several decades. It’s now become one of the most serious public health threats of the 21st Century. Antibiotic-resistant infections now claim more lives each year than the “modern plague” of AIDS, and cost the American health care system some $20 billion a year.

According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 18,600 people died from invasive MRSA infections in the United States in 2005. And that’s just ONE antibiotic-resistant bug. The list of resistant microbes is steadily growing.

What will it take before it’s taken seriously?

A Shift in Thinking is Required to Quell Growing Health Threat

It may seem like there’s nothing you, as an individual, can do about the rise in antibiotic-resistant disease, but that’s not true. You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem when it comes to the rampant over-use of antibiotic drugs and antibacterial products.

Drug companies keep pushing the use of antibiotics; doctors keep prescribing these drugs for viral infections they can’t treat; patients keep asking for them for every ill; parents and schools keep insisting on using antibacterial cleansers and wipes; and the food industry keeps injecting them into their livestock, which eventually ends up on your dinner plate…

But you can be part of the solution in each and every one of these scenarios.

You can turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to drug advertisements; you can question your doctor’s prescription; you can resist asking for an antibiotic unless absolutely necessary and appropriate; you can avoid buying conventional farm-raised beef; and you can avoid using antibacterial products in your own home.

The last recommendation in particular is one of the easiest, and it will save you money to boot.  Proper hygiene does NOT require you to use harsh antibacterial agents. On the contrary, they can cause far more harm than good, both in the long- and short-term.

Hand washing—Your First Line of Defense Against Infectious Disease

Washing your hands is your number one protection against the acquisition and spread of infectious disease. But you do not need to use antimicrobial soap to get the job done.  Studies have shown that people who use antibacterial soaps and cleansers develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who use regular soaps.

Part of the reason for this is because most of these symptoms are actually caused by viruses, which antibacterial soaps can’t kill.

But even for symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, which may be caused by bacteria, those who used regular soaps still had no greater risk than those who used antibacterial products. So, the rational conclusion is antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary for the purpose of washing away bacteria.

A 2007 systematic review published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases confirmed that antibacterial soap containing triclosan did not provide any additional benefit compared with a non-antibacterial soap.

The authors concluded:

“The lack of an additional health benefit associated with the use of triclosan-containing consumer soaps over regular soap, coupled with laboratory data demonstrating a potential risk of selecting for drug resistance, warrants further evaluation by governmental regulators regarding antibacterial product claims and advertising.”

There have been no changes made to the claims products are allowed to make, or how they’re allowed to advertise these products, but why wait for federal regulation that may or may not come?  It’s been repeatedly shown that washing your hands with plain soap and water can kill germs that cause:

  • The common cold
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • Hepatitis A
  • Acute gastroenteritis
  • Stomach infections such as salmonella, campylobacter and norovirus
  • Other contagious illnesses and surgical wound complications, including MRSA

Proper Hand Washing Technique

However, it’s important to use proper hand washing technique. To make sure you’re actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use warm water
  2. Use a mild soap
  3. Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, for at least 20 seconds
  4. Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails
  5. Rinse thoroughly under running water
  6. Dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry
  7. In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor

Also remember that your skin is actually your primary defense against bacteria, not the soap, so resist the urge to become obsessive about washing your hands. Over-washing can easily reduce the protective oils in your skin (especially in the winter and dry dessert environments)  and cause your skin to crack—offering easy entry for bacteria and viruses into your body.

Instead, simply wash your hands when they look dirty, and prior to, or after, performing certain tasks that could spread infection, such as in these instances:

  • Before and after preparing food, especially when handling raw meat and poultry
  • Before eating
  • Before and after treating wounds or taking/giving medicine
  • Before touching a sick or injured person
  • Before inserting contact lenses
  • After using the toilet or changing a diaper
  • After touching an animal, its toys, leashes, or waste
  • After blowing your nose or coughing/sneezing into your hands
  • After handling garbage or potentially contaminated waste

Antibacterial Products Pose Several Health Risks

Once you understand that good-old-fashioned soap and water are just as effective as modern antibacterials, the second issue becomes that of side effects. Traditional soap will not harm your health, other than perhaps dry your skin if used too frequently, whereas antibacterial products like triclosan comes with an array of potentially dangerous side effects.

In a recent press release, Dr. Sarah Janssen of the Natural Resources Defense Council is quoted as saying:

“It’s about time FDA has finally stated its concerns about antibacterial chemicals like triclosan.

The public deserves to know that these so-called antibacterial products are no more effective in preventing infections than regular soap and water and may, in fact, be dangerous to their health in the long run.”

This truth may be tough to swallow for some people because of highly successful advertising, but it’s true nonetheless. Please understand that the idea that “clean” equals sterile is not based in reality. A massive, highly profitable market has been created based on the premise that germs must be eradicated and that they’re hard to kill.

As a result, many, particularly the younger generations, have been brainwashed into believing that regular soap isn’t good enough; you need that “magic ingredient” that will ensure your safety and cleanliness. Unfortunately, you’re just paying extra for the privilege of having been hoodwinked by slick advertising.

You’re also paying more while putting your health at risk in a number of ways, including:

  1. Contributing to the creation of hardier, more resistant bacterial strains. The antimicrobial triclosan, for example, is known to promote the growth of resistant bacteria. Even the American Medical Association (AMA) does not recommend antibacterial soaps for this very reason.
  2. Adding to your body’s toxic burden.
  3. Triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial soap, not only kills bacteria, it also has been shown to kill human cells, and has been shown to act as an endocrine disrupter.
  4. In addition, these products kill both bad AND good bacteria, which is another explanation for how they contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and potentially also to allergic diseases like asthma and hay fever.
  5. A child raised in an environment devoid of dirt and germs, and who is given antibiotics that kill off all of the good and bad bacteria in his gut, is not able to build up natural resistance to disease, and becomes vulnerable to illnesses later in life. This theory, known as the hygiene hypothesis, is likely one reason why many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in the last few decades.

Antibacterial Soap Mixed with Chlorinated Water is a Dangerous Mix

As if that wasn’t enough, when triclosan mixes with the chlorine in your tap water, chloroform is formed, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified as a probable human carcinogen. I warned about this compounding danger over five years ago.

In tests that closely mirror typical dishwashing habits and conditions, researchers have found that triclosan reacts with free chlorine to generate more than 50 parts per billion (ppb) of chloroform in your dishwater. And, when combined with other disinfection byproducts (DBPs), the additional chloroform could easily drive the concentration of total trihalomethanes above the EPA’s maximum allowable amount.

As I’ve discussed before, trihalomethanes are some of the most dangerous chemical byproducts there are. The maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb (parts-per-billion), but there really is no “safe” level of these chemicals.

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Disinfection byproducts (DPBs) have also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans.

Furthermore, once these antimicrobial chemicals flow down your drain, they contaminate the environment and become part of the food chain. Researchers have determined that about 75 percent of another popular antimicrobial, triclocarban (TCC), resists water treatments meant to break it down and ends up in surface water and in municipal sludge used as fertilizer.

TCC is also known to cause cancer and reproductive problems.

So, the release of antimicrobials into the environment is yet another way that these products contribute to the increase in resistance of pathogens to clinical antibiotics.

Why Use Something that Has NO Clear Health Benefits and Plenty of Health Hazards?

The research clearly shows that you do not need antimicrobial soap to effectively protect yourself from germs. All you need is plain soap and warm water. Ditto for your dishes and your laundry.

So please, avoid using antibacterial soaps and other products containing these hazardous ingredients. They’re just harming you, the environment, and adding to a significant public health problem. They also cost more.

Instead, just use a gentle, chemical-free soap. Local health food stores typically carry a variety of natural soaps that will do the trick without harsh chemicals.

Courtesy of Dr.Mercola

How Silver is Used in Wellness

BEVERLY HILLS – Silver has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries and, in modern times, several prescription drugs contain the precious metal. For example, silver nitrate is used to prevent the eye condition conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids) in newborn babies and it treats corns and warts, too. Another medication, silver sulfadiazine (sold as Silvadene) contains a micronized form of silver that is applied topically to the body to treat burns. And now researchers have found that when silver is used with copper, the combination may offer protection against the majority of serious hospital-acquired infections.

The germ-killing properties of copper, like those of silver, have been recognized for hundreds of years. Scientists have discovered that copper ions are deadly to bacteria because they penetrate the micro-organisms and disrupt molecular pathways that are important for their survival. In fact, in 2008 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially registered copper alloys and allowed them to be marketed with the label “kills 99.9% of bacteria within two hours”.

Scientist Dana Filoti successfully tested her hypothesis that the combination of silver and copper would work better to kill bacteria than the metals alone. She created zeolite (a porous mineral) ceramic structures to hold the metals. “The hard ceramic structure looks like Swiss cheese and inside the holes there are ions of silver and copper,” Filoti explained in a statement to the press. By experimenting with the ratio of copper to silver and the texture of extremely thin films containing the metals, she was able to almost totally wipe out all microbes on the surface.

Filoti, a University of New Hampshire physicist, presented her findings at the recent national meeting of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), an organization that promotes the science and technology of materials, interfaces and processing, held in San Jose, California. Filoti unveiled her copper/silver films and told the group of scientists and engineers that silver and copper do work synergistically to effectively kill bacteria, including the type of pathogens that too often cause difficult-to-treat infections acquired in hospitals.

A practical application of the silver and copper combo’s amazing ability to kill germs is on the horizon. Filoti is working with a New Hampshire company to design an antimicrobial face mask that will protect wearers against pathogens known to cause many hospital-acquired infections.