Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Five Second Rule and Other Myths About Germs: What Everyone Should Know About Bacteria, Viruses, Mold and Mildew / by Anne Maczulak, Ph.D

So just what can happen if you don't wash your hands before you eat? How safe is sushi? Can it harm a dog to drink out of a toilet bowl? What's the worst area in the home for germs? As it turns out, it depends. It has to do with things like direct and indirect transmissions, the degree of prior interaction, proximity to various pathogens, strains of virus in the vicinity, and, perhaps most of all, the condition of your immune system. Maczulak, a top-tier microbiologist and frequent guest on Martha Stewart's radio show, dishes about the truths, myths and old wives tales of the invisible world of toxins which plague our lives in this delightfully informative book. As it turns out some of the traditionally handed down advice on how to avoid various unwanted viruses and bacteria aren't so far off the mark. Then again, some of the most commonly employed directives like applying iodine to exposed wounds or using a water purifier in your sink aren't always surefire methods of avoiding viruses or illness.
Of course what's not a myth is that microbes in the form of bacteria, fungi and other types of pathogens (millions of them) are lurking on surfaces and objects all around you. But what you may not know is that this invisible world of microbes is in a large way beneficial in helping your body to function properly. Without them we couln't exist, nor would our bodies be able to adapt to the external world. The author does a good job addressing the FAQ's but also backs up her analysis with hard science, employing diagrams, and multiple microscopic images to back up her arguments about everyday issues. One key aspect of the book is how Maczulak answers questions about what to use when your cleaning, about whether or not to use disinfectants and why antibiotics might not always be the best solution if you have a cold. So is the five second rule valid? It may depend on what kind of cookie it is and just how hungry you are. (616.904 MACZULAK)

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