Paper Towel vs. Electric Hand Dryers in Public Restrooms: Which is Best?

Consider the public restroom. We may be a bit concerned about how sanitary it is, but when nature calls while we are out and about, the facility is a welcome sight. But how do we utilize public restrooms with minimum risk to our health? Automatic flush toilets, no-touch water faucets, electric hand dryers, and automatic


Hand-washing for the Holidays

Proper hand-washing is one of the most important steps families can take to avoid colds, flu, stomach bugs, and other viruses swirling around us this Holiday Season. Make it fun: teach kids to lather up their hands with warm water and soap for about 20 seconds, which is approximately as long as it takes to


How Norovirus Spreads and What to Do When It Arrives in Your Home

The “stomach bug” or norovirus, can be a seasonal “downer” for the whole family. This so-called “perfect pathogen” is heartier than you might imagine. It spreads easily, remains viable on environmental surfaces for days (if it’s not hit with an effective disinfectant), and mutates over time, raising the possibility that your first harrowing experience with


Virus-Associated Mystery Syndrome on the Rise: Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Named for its symptoms, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a polio-like, paralyzing neurological condition that primarily afflicts young children aged 2 to 8 years. Although very rare, confirmed cases of AFM have spiked sharply since 2014, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first noted the increase (see box). Available clinical, laboratory, and other evidence all suggest a viral association, and over 90% of confirmed cases had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before developing AFM. CDC is working closely with healthcare providers as well as state and local health departments to investigate and confirm AFM cases, including possible causes, risk factors, and potential treatment options. Yet because much about AFM remains a mystery—including why a small but growing number of people develop AFM after a viral infection while most others recover—some parents and doctors have grown impatient with CDC.


Flu Season: What You Need to Know to Stay Healthy

Flu season has arrived. Although we can’t predict how severe it will be, we know that last season was deadlier than many of the recent past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website reports annual flu deaths in the U.S. range between approximately 12,000 and 56,000 people. During the 2017-2018 flu season, however,


The Great 1918 Flu Pandemic and its Impact on Louisville

Sisters who served in the emergency hospitals, Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, KY, with Father Regis Barrett Photo courtesy of University of Louisville Photo Archives This year marks the centenary of the Great 1918 Flu Pandemic, a period of worldwide illness and death that overlapped and intertwined with the terror of World War I. The flu


3 Top Thanksgiving Safety Tips to Help Prevent Foodborne Illness

I love Thanksgiving because it brings together good people and good food. Keeping my guests smiling all the way through Black Friday is important to me too. By that I don’t mean tracking my guests’ amazing savings on sale merchandise at the mall. I mean making sure that folks who joined me for the holiday


Avoiding the Latest Salmonella Outbreaks with a Special Focus on Children and the Elderly

Ninety-two people in 29 states have been infected with an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria known as Salmonella Infantis, according to a recent Investigation Notice by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC reports the outbreak strain is present in live chickens and in many types of recalled raw chicken products including


Flood Cleanup Tips after Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence will be remembered for the relentless rain associated with her slow trek over the Carolinas. As residents return to flooded neighborhoods to deal with Florence’s aftermath, we offer the following tips for cleanup and recovery.


“Stomach Flu” Season: How the Virus Spreads Trojan Horse-Style

As students return to the classroom and we approach yet another “stomach flu” season, new research provides a fascinating glimpse into the transmission of stomach viruses, including the dreaded norovirus. According to the researchers, large numbers of norovirus particles can invade human cells “Trojan horse-style,” encased within a protective membrane known as a vesicle. Just as the fabled giant model horse of antiquity provided a concealed army of warriors access to the city of Troy, “vesicle-cloaked” viruses are stealthily delivered to human cells, undetected by the human immune system. How ingenious!