Ebola’s Here. Should You Be Worried?

The country’s first Ebola patient—Thomas Eric Duncan, who was visiting Dallas from West Africa—has died. But the fact that he was mistakenly sent home when he first showed up at a Texas hospital complaining of symptoms, does not exactly inspire confidence in our healthcare system. Especially considering that CDC director Thomas Frieden said in a Tuesday news conference that “we’re stopping [Ebola] in its tracks in this country.” I mean, you gotta wonder: Can we be sure? After all, Duncan told a hospital nurse that …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Insects are a food source for one of every three people worldwide. (Learn more at Yahoo) 2. The debts and unpaid bills of more than a third of Americans have been reported to collection agencies. (Learn more at Urban Institute) 3. Handshakes share 20 times more germs than fist bumps. (Learn more at AARP) >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  4. A new smartphone app simulates a retro camera by making you …

Don’t Shake on It: A Fist Bump Is Less Germy

Manners maven Emily Post probably would have disapproved, but British researchers say if you want to protect yourself against germs, you should pass on the traditional handshake and instead exchange a fist bump, especially with your doctor. Scientists with Aberystwyth University in Wales wanted to see how doctors could reduce the spread of bacteria, so they tested three types of  hand-to-hand greetings to see which one transferred the fewest germs: a handshake, a high five or the sort of knuckle-to-knuckle …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The bones of a seven-story-tall dinosaur, called the largest creature ever to walk the earth, were discovered in Argentina. (Learn more at NPR) 2. The outgoing Indian prime minister had 1.24 million Twitter followers before he reset the government account, making the new PM start over. (Learn more at Quartz) Honorable Outgoing PM Dr Manmohan Singh farewell speech to the nation Full Speech: http://t.co/Z7NrGabt1R pic.twitter.com/An6GyIlBRI – Yuva Desh (@yuvadesh) May 17, 2014 3. The residents of Paraguay are …

Flying? Don’t Touch That Seat Pocket

Some advice for the next time you fly: Bring plenty of hand sanitizer, and don’t touch the seat-back pocket – where, new research shows, disease-causing germs can live for more than a week. In the study, researchers at Auburn University in Alabama wanted to see where on a plane bacteria could live long enough to sicken passengers. So they picked six surfaces that passengers typically touch and infected them with some scary germs: MRSA, a sometimes-fatal, antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria often …

What’s in Your Wallet? A Whole Lot of Germs

Open your wallet. Pull out a dollar bill. You’ve just touched more than 3,000 bacteria that have been linked to stomach ulcers, acne, pneumonia and staph infections. (Thinking about using that plastic credit card more often now?) These kinds of microbes, which are found on many surfaces, are transferred when we touch things. Money, in particular, gets handed around a lot, say researchers with New York University’s aptly named Dirty Money Project. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter …