wash your hands

  1. The doctors of the future are DUMB

    There's a simple way to stop the spread of disease in hospitals, where drug-resistant germs are running so rampant they're practically taking over: Wash your darned hands.

    Yet when it comes to this basic step -- a step we all learned in preschool -- today's leading medical students get an "F."

    Only a third of students surveyed at Germany's Hannover Medical School were able to name the five situations in which they need to wash their hands.

    For the record, the correct answers are: before contact with a patient, before preparing IV fluids, after removing gloves, after touching the patient's bed, and after contact with vomit.

    I hope all of them at least got that last one right -- and if you think any of this is limited to German medical students, you're kidding yourself.

    Heck, even our full-grown docs with walls full of degrees and years of experience fail at basic hygiene more often than you'd ever want to know. In some studies, they've been caught red-handed not washing their hands after using the bathroom... even when someone was in the same restroom watching them!

    It's not just disgusting -- it's reprehensible. People go into hospitals and die every day not because of the condition that brought them there... but because of infections they picked up IN THE HOSPITAL.

    Some 1.7 million patients suffer from hospital-acquired infections in the United States every single year -- and close to 100,000 of them DIE because of those infections.

    That's even more than the number of people killed each year by traffic accidents and drug overdoses combined!

    Many of these infections and deaths can be prevented with simple common-sense hygiene -- yet neither the doctors of today nor the doctors of tomorrow seem to know what that means.

  2. The flu that wasn't

    When did we become such big babies?

    Every little sneeze and sniffle has turned into a big drama -- and now, just about everyone who gets sick assumes they have the flu.

    Maybe they just want more sympathy, or at least an excuse to miss work -- but whatever the reason, most people who THINK they have the flu really DON'T... and if you catch a bug this winter yourself, odds are it won't be the flu for you, either.

    The CDC accidentally confirmed that most winter illnesses blamed on the flu are really just run-of-the-mill colds: Of the 24,027 suspected flu specimens tested in 30 states in October and November, just 266 turned out to be the actual flu.

    The rest? A case of the nothings.

    The feds of course are praising the flu shot. See? The vaccine works -- only 266 people got the flu.

    Just one problem: The agency also admitted that nearly two-thirds of us are unvaccinated this year.

    Oops.

    But let's turn those numbers around and find out what they REALLY mean: While only 266 people had the flu, 23,761 people were sick enough to visit a doctor and get tested.

    All they had was a cold -- maybe a bad one, but still just a cold -- and not even a 100 percent flu vaccination rate would have prevented a single one of those illnesses.

    So forget flu shots and remember what mom told you instead -- wash your hands. Throw in some immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamins C and D and the mineral zinc, and you'll be protected against every illness-causing germ, all year 'round.

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