TECH GERMS: Remember to wipe… your keyboard

cartoon image of a Bateria or Germ I write so often about technologies for home healthcare that this shocking infographic (below) caught my eye. It’s about germs on door knobs, light switches, keyboards, remote controllers, and much more. Did you know that most computer keyboards have 5 times more bacteria (from poop) than toilet seats? The dirtiest is the TV remote, whether in your home, hotel room, or hospital.

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The Hazards of Hospitals (an infographic)

Hazards of Hospitals infographicWhy US Hospitals aren’t nearly as Safe as you think

The infographic below is under a Creative Commons license. Here are some highlights:

We all think of the hospital as a place we go to get better. But hospitals in the United States are making people sicker at alarming rates. Between overtired interns, germ-covered doctors, and haphazard record keeping, you might find yourself in more trouble than you were when you checked in.

Some of the statistics presented include:

  • You’re 30,000 times more likely to die from a hospital visit than a plane crash.
  • 1 in 5 patients suffer harm from medical errors.
  • 1.7 million infections are contracted in hospitals each year.
  • 99,000 die from them.
  • More die from infections each year than from car accidents, breast cancer or aids.

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Finding a ‘healthy’ home a challenge, but can be done

Photo by Tom Coplen Buena Vista Photography

Modern homes are more airtight, driven largely by a push for increased energy efficiency, but that can trap pollutants inside and make it more likely to breathe toxic air inside the home than outside. The concentration of toxic compounds emitted by common household products and furnishings can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue and other symptoms. As much as 15% of the population is sensitive to these chemicals, especially those with asthma and other respiratory diseases. That’s why I was attracted to this article by Carrie Alexander, describing the challenges of finding a “healthy” home.

Elaine Robbins searched for more than a year before she found a house in Austin that would fit her needs. Like most home buyers, Robbins needed a house that fit her budget, location and square-footage requirements. But she also needed to find a home that would not make her ill.

Many of the houses for sale — especially those that had been spruced up with new carpet and paint before going on the market — raised health concerns for Robbins, who is especially sensitive to chemicals in many modern building materials, products and furnishings, as well as cigarette smoke and natural gas.

Read Carrie’s article for information on finding green homes built with healthy materials.