Don’t touch those magazines in the waiting room

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Several years ago while sitting in a management team meeting, I was suddenly stricken with symptoms of a particularly hideous strain of an outbreak of  norovirus that had been spreading through the hospital where I worked. Because those infected with a norovirus illness shed billions of the dreaded virus particles in their stool and vomit, the hospital protocol during this outbreak was to immediately call in a specially-trained housekeeping team wearing what looked like Hazmat suits to scrub down the staff washroom I’d just used.  Even the calendar and paper posters pinned up on the washroom’s little bulletin board were removed and destroyed.

Until then, I thought I was the only one who felt creeped out by touching paper in any public waiting room. These rooms – particularly in hospitals and doctors’ offices – are jam-packed with sick people, people!  At the best of times, I don’t like sitting in a patient waiting room, never mind voluntarily picking up any reading material while I’m there. Even people who are not coughing, hacking, snorting, sneezing or wiping dripping mucous from their inflamed noses with unwashed bare fingers can still be transmitting bacteria and viruses onto every page of those waiting room magazines.  Continue reading “Don’t touch those magazines in the waiting room”

Heart patients can avoid food poisoning by avoiding these foods entirely

ham plate

I used to be a happy person. But then I took a FOODSAFE course.  This certification course is recommended in my province for anybody who handles, prepares or serves food.  It’s very educational, but once you’ve watched those ominous “What Went Wrong?” course videos (about hapless party guests dropping like flies from eating tainted crême caramel), you can become just a wee bit paranoid about foodborne illnesses, often for the rest of your natural life.

That’s why the following basic list of foods to avoid is extremely important.

Food poisoning occurs when you eat food that contains harmful bacteria, parasites, or viruses. It can be severe and sometimes fatal. In fact, The American Society of Clinical Oncology website warns:

 “Foodborne illnesses can be particularly severe if a person has a weakened immune system from cancer treatment or chronic illness like heart disease, or is very old, very young, or pregnant.”

Food can become contaminated when someone infected with a virus (often a norovirus) or other ‘bug’ handles the food. Raw foods are a common cause of foodborne illness. Proper cooking can destroy bacteria, but they can grow even on cooked food if left out too long. Some bacteria, such as listeria, can grow even on foods stored in the refrigerator over time.

That’s what happened last summer when listeriosis killed 22 people of the 57 affected by eating tainted cold cuts produced at a Maple Leaf meat processing plant in Toronto. Continue reading “Heart patients can avoid food poisoning by avoiding these foods entirely”