Found this morning in the Bottom Line Newsletter:
As a person who stays in hotels, it never occurred to me to wipe down the main light switch (DUH!) or the bedside light, or that the most bacteria filled objects of all would be the sponges and rags used to clean them. Oh UGH! I think carrying sanitizing wipes sounds like a really good idea!
The Four Dirtiest Surfaces in a Hotel Room
When you enter a hotel room, you already know that it’s probably teeming with germs from the many strangers who stayed there before you.
But, realistically, what are you going to do about it? Spend hours cleaning every corner? Cover yourself in plastic wrap? Not travel?
Well, there’s a new (and much more realistic) strategy that you can try, because a recent study has identified the areas in hotel rooms that have the most bacteria.
And they’re not all spots that you would commonly think to avoid or to wipe clean.
So instead of worrying or just feeling uncomfortable, I’m going to focus on sanitizing these few hot spots—and you can, too. It doesn’t take long (there are only four!).
FOUR GROSSEST AREAS
Researchers collected samples from various surfaces in three freshly cleaned hotel rooms in three different states (a total of nine rooms), and then, back at the lab, detected how many bacteria were on each surface by conducting something called aerobic plate counts. The higher the surface’s “count,” the more bacteria it contained. The top four dirtiest surfaces (outside of housekeepers’ cleaning equipment, the toilet, and the bathroom sink and floor—all of which scored over 117 “counts”) turned out to be:
Main light switch: 113
TV remote control: 68
Bedside lamp switch: 22
Telephone keypad: 20
Most items (including the toilet paper holder, mug, bathroom faucet, room door handle, shower floor and bathroom door handle) had relatively moderate amounts of bacteria, with scores between 4 and 11. The two cleanest surfaces, both of which scored only 0.5, were the bed headboard and the curtain rod.
Yuck! Some of these top hot spots, such as the remote control, don’t surprise me, but I never would have thought about the bedside lamp! This news is definitely going to make me rethink the way I always turn on the bedside lamp (without disinfecting it first) while reading before bed. I’m also stunned that the bathroom faucet, the shower floor and the two doorknobs weren’t higher on the list!
You might be wondering which types of bacteria were identified. Unfortunately, the aerobic plate counts measured only how many bacteria there were on the surfaces, not which kinds.
WILL YOU GET SICK?
When I called study coauthor Jay Neal, PhD, a food microbiologist and assistant professor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management within the University of Houston, he wasn’t overly concerned by the findings, because not all germs will make you sick. But exposure to any pathogens (germs that carry diseases) raises your risk for getting sick, especially if you are immunocompromised. For example, if you’re undergoing chemo…if you’re pregnant…or if you have HIV, you’re more susceptible to infection.
Of course, there’s no way to completely avoid germs, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to take the following basic precautions—whether you’re immunocompromised or not—to help reduce your risk of getting sick.
A TRAVELER’S BEST FRIEND: SANITIZING WIPES
While Dr. Neal does not believe that sanitizing wipes are necessary, I pack them whenever I travel. You, too, can slip a container of them into your suitcase to disinfect the bacteria-laden surfaces mentioned above the moment that you walk into your hotel room.
Don’t assume that a housekeeper cleaned those areas. Even if a housekeeper did, he or she likely wiped it down with a sponge or mop that was filled with bacteria. Of all the different surfaces that the researchers examined, sponges and mops were the most contaminated items of all!
And, of course, wash your hands when you’re in a hotel room as often as possible with soap and hot water (or use hand sanitizer)—especially before eating or touching your face.
Source(s): Jay Neal, PhD, assistant professor, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston. Researchers reported these findings at the June 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Until the results are published in a peer-reviewed journal, they should be viewed as preliminary.
This is from today’s A-Word-A-Day (the word for today is ‘machinate’) and you can subscribe by clicking on the blue type, above, which will take you to the website.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It has been said that a pretty face is a passport. But it’s not, it’s a visa, and it runs out fast. -Julie Burchill, writer and journalist (b. 1959)
I knew what I was going for. Not the pallid ‘snaps’ that pass in the stores, no, the real gingery cookies, with real snap.
I went to my old faithful, a book I got back many a year ago when I was a new bride, the Joy of Cooking. It is a great edition, and you can see, it is falling apart. I can’t part with it:
Here is the Gingersnap recipe, altered slightly because I wanted guaranteed ‘snap.’
(Makes about 10 dozen 2 inch cookies)
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Cream 3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 well beaten eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vinegar
Sift and add:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 – 4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
Mix ingredients until blended. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes. As the ball melts down during cooking, the cookie develops the characteristic crinkled surface. At 12 minutes, take the cookies out, sprinkle top with the decorator sugar (bigger chunky sugar that won’t melt down into the cookie) and return to the oven for 5 or 6 minutes.
Remove from oven, cool.
Mine are not the prettiest – next year I will know to leave more room between the cookies – but they are the BEST gingersnaps I have ever made. They have a little soft chewiness, and a little crispiness, around the edges. They are SPICY!
The original recipe, in the Joy of Cooking, uses a little less spice and a marshmallow topping. The Joy of Cooking is a wise investment, and if you can find one of the older ones in a used book store, you will have a treasure house of old, tried and true recipes. The authors are Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, and my edition is a Signet Special, first edition, printed in 1973.
Sign along Palafox, a main shopping street in Pensacola:
A little closer:
Yes. It’s a jewelry store. I LOVE their creativity – great advertising
A new video out by Trevor Eckhardt documents how Carrier IQ transmits your activities to your mobile phone carrier:
You can read the entire (fascinating) article on this Huffington Post article.
I can’t remember when I was last in the United States for Easter, but it was probably back when our son married . . . I remember a church service held at the hotel where we were staying, just down below our room, and I remember Easter Brunch, but barely – the wedding had been held the day before, and everything is a little blurry in my memory, it all happened so fast!
So this year was a lot of fun. We had a small family dinner, with all the traditional foods.
My son’s wife loves sweet potatoes; these are baked in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a topping of pineapple:
Cole slaw, oil, vinegar, poppy seed, no mayonnaise:
And after dinner, we had the traditional clogged sink, and spent hours running to the only store open (Easter Sunday in the South, remember?), first for plungers, then later for a plumber’s snake. We tried Liquid Plumber – nothing worked. So I am waiting this morning for the plumber to come and do his magic so our water will run out of the sink again.
If you think you hate cole slaw because of all that mayonnaise, try this dressing – we love it!
Poppy Seed Cole Slaw
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1 Tablespoon poppy seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion juice
Bring all to a boil. Cool before using. Enough for one medium large head of cabbage, shredded thinly.
Now here is a study I love! Scientists studied babies movements to music and discovered – babies love rhythm, and love to move to the rhythm! Get those babies dancing!
If they find rhythm and music more engaging, sing to them!
They Got Rhythm, Study of Babies Finds
(March 16) — Babies innately respond to rhythm more than speech, according to a new study that found dancing comes naturally to infants.
Researchers in Britain and Finland tested the responses of 120 babies ages 5 months to 2 years and found that infants are much more physically responsive to music than to speech and find it more engaging.
In the experiment, which was recorded on video, babies were perched on their mother’s or father’s lap while psychologists played a recording of music. The babies moved their heads, arms, legs and bodies in time to the beat of various different genres of music.
“Our research suggests that it is the beat rather than other features of the music, such as the melody, that produces the response in infants,” one of the study’s authors, psychologist Marcel Zentner of the University of York in England, said in statement.
In order not to influence the baby’s movements, the parent wore headphones to block out the sound of the music and was asked to stay still during the experiment.
The recordings included classical music, rhythmic beats and also speech. They also hired professional ballet dancers to analyze the babies’ movements and determine how well-coordinated they were with the music. All of the babies responded more to the music than to speech.
The findings suggest humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music.
“It remains to be understood why humans have developed this particular predisposition,” Zentner said. “One possibility is that it was a target of natural selection for music or that it has evolved for some other function that just happens to be relevant for music processing.”
Zentner and Tuomas Eerola of Finland’s University of Jyvasklya also found that the more the babies’ movements were synchronized to the music, the more they smiled.
The study appears in the March 15 issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.