The Truth About Turkey

11/25/2015

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Ever eaten a delicious plate (or three) of Thanksgiving dinner and felt the need to curl up into a ball of sleepy guilt afterwards? There’s no shame – we all have. That drowsy feeling has long been attributed to an amino acid found in turkey called tryptophan. Here’s the thing though… turkey causing you to feel sleepier than normal is a myth. In fact, there are plenty of other foods and drinks we consume over the holidays that might be the cause of that post meal sleepiness – especially if there are plenty of carbs involved. (1)

Here’s a list of few foods that have more tryptophan than turkey does:

1. Chicken
Yes. This other popular bird that we regularly consume throughout the rest of the year has slightly more tryptophan than turkey does. Oh, how we feel betrayed. (2)

2. Cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese is in a plethora of delicious foods. It comes in multiple forms and can be added to other delicious foods to make them even more scrumptious.

3. Soybeans
Even the healthiest of foods contain tryptophan. Next time you’re munching on edamame and feeling a tad bit lethargic, you’ll know why. (3)

4. Sunflower Seeds
It’s hard to believe but this popular snack actually has more tryptophan per gram than turkey does. (4)

5. Eggs
Per gram, eggs have about 4 times the amount of tryptophan than turkey does and can be found in just about everything. (3)(5)

Keep in mind, however, that you have to eat an excess of all of these foods in order for the tryptophan to actually have any sort of effect and we definitely don’t recommend doing that.

Everything else aside, that still begs the question – how much turkey does one need to eat for tryptophan to take effect? Here’s what we found: “you’d have to eat 5.4 pounds of turkey, or an entire day’s worth of food, by weight, in turkey alone. But what about a real food coma? Ingesting 12 grams of tryptophan would induce extreme drowsiness, but would require you to eat a whopping 8.6 pounds of turkey, or your baby cousin in weight…of turkey.” (6)

We at Trinity Sterile wish you and yours a Happy Holiday!

Sources

  1. http://www.livescience.com/41543-thanksgiving-myth-busted-eating-turkey-won-t-make-you-sleepy.html
  2. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/the-truth-about-tryptophan
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan
  4. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-tryptophan-foods.php
  5. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/thanksgiving-tryptophan-drowsy-article-1.1531108
  6. http://nerdist.com/how-much-turkey-would-you-need-to-eat-to-get-knocked-out-by-tryptophan-alone/

Finding the Balance: How Clean is TOO Clean?

10/9/2015

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Finding the Balance: How Clean is TOO Clean?

Our society has recently adapted an anti, anti-bacterial stance. This year antibacterial soaps have gathered a bit of a bad wrap. In short, it is because antibacterial ingredients have been found to essentially be antibiotics. These antibiotics make bacteria more resistant to antibodies and other remedies that we usually use to keep ourselves healthy.

A relatable example is hand washing. Our hands are in the spotlight more than anything because of the desire to prevent fecal-oral/respiratory infections. Hands (or any skin for that matter) washed too often results in a decline in skin health. This inherently makes them more susceptible to many different kinds of bacteria. Even after showering, skin bacterial counts are at least as high or higher as they are before showering (using common soaps).

From the CDC’s website, “The trend in both the general public and among health-care professionals toward more frequent washing with detergents, soaps, and antimicrobial ingredients needs careful reassessment in light of the damage done to skin and resultant increased risk for harboring and transmitting infectious agents.“ As a result, a lot of healthcare facilities have adopted a different medium of cleaning/disinfecting using emulsion cleansing. Hand sterilization products, although generally alcohol based, are milder on the skin and often come with moisturizers added.

Between 1989 and the early 2000’s, studies found that a lack of childhood exposure to infectious agents greatly increased their susceptibility to allergic diseases and other sicknesses. Everything from asthma, to hay fever, to type 1 diabetes, MS and even depression seemed to be linked. These correlations came to be known as the Hygiene Hypothesis. In an attempt to combat the negative effects of the Hygiene Hypothesis, hospitals and other health-care establishments are using elements like copper, which in itself is an anti-microbial material. Implementing the use of copper surfaces in common bacteria infested areas (sinks, light switches, etc.) would reduce the risk of bacterial transmission and ultimately infections. In a study done between July 2010 and June 2011, it was shown that copper surfaces reduced infection rates by 58%.

Ultimately the question to be asked is, where’s the line between clean and too clean? All of this information isn’t saying you shouldn’t wash your hands regularly, and you should still undoubtedly use soap, (just not antibacterial soap). If you use any alcohol-based emulsion cleansing products, chose those with moisturizers. As long as one understands that not all germs are bad, but you should still wash your hands. So what it comes down to is – people should continue washing their hands but compulsively washing is unnecessary and can actually be harmful. Like most activities, moderation is key.

Sources:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/
http://theconversation.com/

Back To School

9/2/2015

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It’s that time of the year again, back to school. Kids across the nation pile onto busses and into classrooms. They will be exposed to new knowledge… and new germs. Between cafeteria trays, shared water fountains, desks in classrooms and playground equipment, these children are in [one of] the most germ-infested establishments they’ll ever set foot in. All of these germs are consolidated into one building that your child, as well as faculty, are now surrounded by. As a result, the CDC has concluded that children in public schools average eight to twelve cases of colds or flus annually. When these easily transmittable contagions hit the homefront, adults also have to be on the lookout. Influenza, strep throat, respiratory viruses and the common cold are the most common and most easily spread in a family household.

There are some key things parents can make sure their children do to keep themselves, as well as the rest of the family healthy throughout the school year. The old preventative techniques; getting regular sleep, exercising, being aware of covering your sneezes/coughs, etc. are all a great foundation to build off of for one’s overall well-being. Then there’s washing your hands. A lot of parents think they’ve gotten their kid(s) into the habit of doing this regularly, but a recent study found that only 28% of children in elementary school are doing it properly (see our blog “HOW CLEAN ARE YOUR HANDS, REALLY?”). Another key, and often forgotten part of the equation is diet. It might be a good idea to look into what’s included in your local school’s lunches. Children have a much more sensitive immune system and should ultimately have a regular intake of immune-boosting foods like fruits, veggies and even fish. Finally and most importantly – if your kid is sick, don’t send them to school! There’s a lot of pressure on parents to make sure their children are in attendance, but forcing a contagious child to go to school can then infect others and put many more parents in the same situation.

SOURCES:
www.health.usnews.com
www.fcs.uga.edu
www.cdc.gov

5 Common Ways To Reduce Infection That Make Sense

4/27/2015

Infections acquired in a hospital or healthcare facility, known as a health care-associated infection (HAI), are typically caused by the transmission of bacteria due to skin contact. According to recent statistics, one in every 25 patients is admitted or readmitted due an HAI.

Infections can vary from a simple common cold or fever to serious diseases that affect major organs like the brain, heart, and lungs. Some of the most common health care-associated infections include surgical site infections (SSI), bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and pneumonia.

Infections can spread from even the slightest of carelessness. And as readmission rates become an increasingly higher concern, healthcare providers must start taking direct, intentional measures to reduce the risk of infection within their facilities.

1. Protect all parties.
The clinician, patient and all visitors should be properly protected depending on the nature of illness at hand. Face masks, gloves, and gowns should always be used when necessary. Facilities should also consider the importance of maintaining a variety of dressing sizes and types. If there is not a properly fitting dressing size available, the dressing’s ability to adequately protect the patient will be compromised.

2. Consider the most effective sterilization technique.
Depending on the needs of your facility, ensure that you consider the benefits of using pre-sterilized, disposable equipment versus reusable equipment. Each, of course, have their own benefits. For example, if a surgeon requires specialized, expensive equipment then high-quality reusable surgical instruments may be the best option. But if a piece of equipment is difficult or even impossible to adequately clean, such as a duodenoscope or catheter, then disposable is obviously the best route.

3. Choose the right skin prep.
Just like dressings, there are many skin prep options. Ensure your facility has a variety on hand to meet the infection prevention needs for each patient. It could be as simple as an alcohol prep pad, or as advanced as a Chloraprep® Frepp® or Sepp® Applicator. Again, it depends on the needs at hand and all options should be considered.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of hand washing.
One of the basic and most effective ways to reduce infection is to wash your hands. Healthcare providers must wash their hands before and after contact with every patient. Visitors should also be expected to wash their hands regularly.

5. Standardize and organize from all angles to maintain best practices.
Every nurse should know how to properly wash hands. Every dressing should be changed in the same manner. Every room should be cleaned the same way. Every reusable instrument should undergo the same sterilization process. By pinpointing best practices and standardizing those processes, the quality of care will undoubtedly increase.

SOURCES:
http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/
http://www.health.gov/hcq/prevent_hai.asp
http://www.cdc.gov/
http://www.apic.org/

The “Superbug” was super preventable

The “Superbug” was super preventable
2/26/2015

RECENT “SUPERBUG” OUTBREAK MAKES GOOD CASE FOR DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS

As seen in recent headlines, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center notified 179 patients they may have been exposed to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) from contaminated duodenoscopes. CRE is highly resistant to antibiotics and can kill up to 50 percent of infected patients (1). A total of seven UCLA patients were infected and two have died since February 24 (2).

The duodenoscopes at the center of the recent “superbug” poses a great question: Are reusable products always best practice?

Reusable medical tools clearly have irreplaceable benefits. They, first and foremost, are cost effective by avoiding the need to reorder and restock inventory. Secondly, the quality of reusable products is typically higher than their one-time use counterparts.

So where should the line be drawn between using a product that is reusable versus a product that is intended for one-time use? The answer is simple: the cleaning process. If the risk of using a reusable product outweighs the reward, then the switch should be a no-brainer.

The biggest debate surrounding the UCLA controversy is the lack of effective cleaning methods. Duodenoscopes, compared to other endoscopes, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ERCP, according to the FDA. However, they are challenging to clean. Some parts of the scopes are difficult to access and effective cleaning of all areas may not actually be possible (3). In fact, an 18-year-old infected UCLA patient is now allegedly suing the duodenoscope manufacturer for negligence and failing to provide an effective and validated reprocessing protocol (1).

If a medical tool—regardless of its purpose—is going to be used on more than one patient, then extensive cleaning procedures need to be outlined to prevent infection and cross-contamination. If effective cleaning cannot be guaranteed between uses, clinicians should consider alternatives such as disposable products.

For example, clinicians could utilize disposable instruments that are pre-sterilized and individually packaged. This eliminates any chance of human error in the cleaning process. A disposable speculum is another example of a common product that may be more effective than a reusable speculum. If discarded after use, there is a much lower risk of cross-contamination between patients.

Reusable products and disposable products both have their benefits; however, the key to maintaining patient safety is assessing the context of its use and selecting the most effective option.

1. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ucla-outbreak-patients-20150225-story.html
2. http://www.apic.org/Resource_/TinyMceFileManager/mediaImages/ERCP_Press_Release_APIC_SHEA_02242015.pdf
3. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm434871.htm

How Clean Are Your Hands, Really?

How Clean Are Your Hands, Really?
7/2/2015


Infection control is an obvious concern in a healthcare environment. There is no doubt reducing the risk of infection is of high important in a context where unwanted bacteria is synonymous with procedure complications, additional antibiotics, longer recoveries, and higher readmission rates.

But what about those of us that don’t spend a majority of our time in a healthcare facility? We spend our days in an office. In cubicles. Break rooms. Our dining room tables and living room couches. Should we be concerned about unwanted bacteria as well?

Of course.

Countless bacteria lingers in common, every day places. Let’s walk through an average day.

6:00 a.m. arrives and you wake up in your bed which, essentially, is a collection of dead skin cells, body oils, sweat, fungal mold, spores, bacteria, and dust mites and their feces (1).

You walk to the bathroom to start getting ready for your day. The bathtub, specifically near the drain, houses an average of 119,468 bacteria per square inch (2). And on your toothbrush dwells about 100 million bacteria including E. coli, staphylococci, and—sorry—fecal germs (3).

It’s time for a quick breakfast so you head to the kitchen. Be careful; you’re fridge poses a risk. 83 percent of fridges test positive for common molds within their seals and 26 percent of fridge handles are considered high risk for illness transmission. Even the sponge sitting in your sink is a breeding ground, possibly holding 10 million bacteria in just it’s dirty water alone (4).

Time to leave and you flip the light switch—217 bacteria per square inch (5).

You get in your car to drive to work. Did you know that the steering wheel of your car harbors nine times more germs than a public toilet seat? Approximately 80 bacteria lurk on each square inch of toilet, but approximately 700 inhabit the interior of a car (6).

You realize you are low on gas and pull into the local gas station. You pay with cash, where a live flu virus can live for up to 17 days (7). But the cash isn’t the only concern. Did you know that 71 percent of gas pump handles are contaminated with germs that can make you ill (8)?

You finally get to work and sit at your desk. Your keyboard has 70% more bacteria that a toilet seat. Your office phone is about 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. And the area where your hands rest can house about 10,000,000 bacteria (5).

You give a few handshakes to your coworkers as the day progress. But did you know 80 percent of infections are spread through hand contact (5)?

Your day will continue in this mass submersion of bacteria. More door handles. More light switches. TV remotes. Handrails. Restaurant menus. It’s endless. But don’t panic. Of course, all statistics are dependent on cleaning habits. And not all bacteria are bad. In fact, you need bacteria to maintain your health and immune system. Most people with a healthy immune system and good hygiene habits don’t have to be too concerned. Likewise, simple precautions can be taken to ensure an everyday bacteria does not become a threat, such as proper hand washing.

So don’t let the facts scare you—just use them as a friendly reminder that infection control is not just a concern limited to hospitals or healthcare workers. It should be on all of our radars.

Sources:
1. Beantown Bedding Statistics
2. CBS News
3. MedicineNet.com
4. CBS News
5. YGraph.com
6. Dailymail.co.uk
7. Time
8. Forbes