Just “Plane” Gross: What You Can Do to Beat Germs During Air Travel

As summer kicks into high gear, many people will be taking to the skies for vacation getaways. We’ll be the first to admit we don’t particularly love traveling by plane. While it gets us from here to there in record time, there can be a lot of hassles, from baggage fees to the icky shoe removal policy while going through security. Now researchers have a new reason for us to loathe air travel. Research shows that infectious, disease-causing bacteria and airplane germs can live for weeks on most airplane surfaces.

plane taking off

Find out where germs lurk on planes and how long they live.
Image Source: Flickr user Joao Carlos Medau

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Fungus in the News: Rhizopus in Hospital Linens Leads to Deadly Infection in Youngsters

A recent story in the NY Times plays into one of our greatest phobias — coming down with a sudden, fatal, unstoppable illness. The victims — a newborn boy in the NICU, a 10-year-old girl, and a 13-year-old boy — died at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans between August 2008 and July 2009. The children had horrible, mysterious open wounds on their abdomens, groins, and faces. Eventually, it was uncovered that the youngsters had come down with a flesh-eating fungal infection called mucormycosis caused by the fungus known as Rhizopus– and that fungus was spread by hospital bed linens and towels.

children's hospital of new orleans

What happened at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans could have happened anywhere. Administrators say they regret not being more proactive.
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5 Ways To Keep Dangerous Germs Out Of Your Home

The home should be a place of respite and peace — not a revolting place full of bacteria, fungus and illness-causing germs. While it’s true that not all types of bacteria constitute as “pathogens,” wouldn’t you rather live in a sanitary environment if you could? There are a few guidelines for the industrious homemaker to keep in mind to ensure that contact with dangerous germs is kept to a minimum, with the goal that the family remains as healthy as possible.

household germs

Dangerous germs can lurk in the most unlikeliest places. Image Source:

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News Flash: Yoga Mats Are Cesspools of Fungus and Bacteria!

“Do you do yoga?” That is the first question Long Island College Hospital podiatrist Greg E. Cohen asks women who come to him with embarrassing, persistent foot infections. In two years’ time, Dr. Cohen told the NY Times he had seen a 50% spike in patients with athlete’s foot and plantar warts — primarily due to dirty exercise mats. While there aren’t any known studies linking viruses, fungus and bacteria to shared gym equipment, many foot care professionals are making their own unofficial connections. Most people know enough to wear flip-flops in public showers and locker rooms, but they don’t even think twice about putting bare feet down onto communal yoga mats.

yoga feet

Yoga can be relaxing and body sculpting, but it can also be a way to pick up nasty foot fungus if you’re not careful! Image Source:

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Are Antibacterial Soaps Making Us Sick? FDA Forces Manufacturers to Back Safety Claims with Research

Antibacterial soaps have long since become mainstream, now being found in homes, inside hospitals, and at schools across America. Many of the products we buy in bath and body shops nowadays bill themselves as “antibacterial,”  but do they really keep us safe or make us healthier? After decades of debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a sudden, surprising declaration that they will now be forcing manufacturers of antibacterial soaps to back claims of safety and efficiency with clinical research.

“Due to consumers’ extensive exposure to the ingredients in anti-bacterial soaps, we believe there should be a clearly demonstrated benefit from using anti-bacterial soap to balance any potential risk,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told the Chicago Tribune


Three-quarters of Americans had triclosan in their urine. It also appears in breast milk. But is it safe?
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Are Paws Dirtier Than Shoes? A Dog Lover's Guide to a Cleaner, More Sanitary Home

A few weeks ago, we published a piece on shoe etiquette in which we briefly mentioned what to do if you have dogs in your home, but want to enforce a “no shoe” policy with guests. It can seem like a contradiction — a clean home… with dogs?! So we wanted to follow up and write more on this topic, since many of our readers probably love their furry friends as much as we do — yet also want to maintain a clean, sanitary home for their families.

muddy dog paws

No one wants to see muddy paws on their floors, let alone think about what kind of germs are tracked indoors on a dog’s paws!
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Scientists Say Our Body’s Bacteria & Fungus Are As Unique As Our Fingerprints

This year, scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the bacteria and fungus biome of our bodies. It may be difficult to believe, but the microbes living on and in your body outnumber your own cells 10 to 1. Not all bugs are bad, of course. As babies, gentle microbes strengthen our immune systems to fight off the nastier bugs that make us sick. Probiotics form colonies in the gut so that harmless bacteria takes up all the real estate that bad bacteria may otherwise nab. It turns out, the colonies of microbes thriving on us is diverse — and as unique as our fingerprints.


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