This Holiday Season, Don’t be a Germ Re-gifter
Water Quality & Health Council

As you gather with family and friends to mark the holidays, beware the coughing, sneezing person who should have stayed home.  This person is a re-gifter, not of an unappetizing fruit cake, but of germs that can hardly wait to make you sick.

Germs survive by re-gifting, propelled by guest “A” through the air in an uncovered cough to be inhaled by guest “B” in her next breath.  Now “B” is infected and soon will be culturing her own army of germs to be re-gifted by coughing and sneezing.
The downloadable poster at left, based on messages from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers practical tips for curtailing the spread of germs to others.  It reminds everyone to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue or by blocking the cough with their sleeve.

These responses to coughing and sneezing are preferable … READ MORE >>


Trendy or Traditional, Safe Food Preparation is a Must this Thanksgiving
Linda Golodner

As I prepare to host Thanksgiving once again, I think about how the holiday has changed over the years.  Traditionally the day is marked by a scrumptious feast with a turkey in the spotlight.  Increasingly, in many households, there is greater focus on vegetable and grain dishes to please those who prefer a healthier cuisine and for the vegetarians around the table.  Creative holiday recipes abound on TV food channels and the Internet!

Whether your holiday menu will include turkey or tofu, be trendy or traditional, or contain elements of all of these, safe food preparation is a must.  And remember, food safety is not just about meat, poultry and seafood.  A 2013 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that between 1998 and 2008, vegetables accounted for the single greatest percentage of foodborne illnesses, although meat and poultry were responsible for the greatest percentage … READ MORE >>


The Problem with Intermittent Water Delivery in Developing Countries
Fred Reiff, PE

It’s great to have water piped into your home, but what happens when the flow of water is intermittent?   It is not uncommon for communities in developing countries to supply water for only a few hours or less every other day, due to an inadequate water supply and/or to save on the electrical costs of pumping water.  Two new research studies examine the potential health effects on consumers of “on again, off again” piped water, an unfortunate reality in developing countries.

A Comparison Study in India

Ercumen et al. (2015)1 matched eight areas of Hubli-Dharwad, India with a continuous piped water supply to eight comparable areas with an intermittent piped water supply.  Over a 15-month period, the researchers visited more than 3,900 households in these areas with at least one child under the age of five to record health data reported by caregivers.

Although the researchers found no significant …


Healthy Visits to Patients in Healthcare Facilities
Barbara M. Soule, R.N. MPA, CIC, FSHEA

Much of human life begins and ends in healthcare facilities.  These institutions are also places of treatment, healing and recovery.  It is natural, therefore, that visitors to patients in healthcare facilities can be so focused on the emotional aspects of connecting with their friends and loved ones that they forget to take precautions to avoid spreading infection.
The following tips are meant to promote healthy visits to patients in healthcare facilities.

Infection Prevention Starts with Your Hands 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand washing is the single most important means of preventing infections.  Wash your hands as you enter the patient’s room, frequently while in the room, before and after touching the patient or the patient’s immediate environment, and just before leaving the room.  Use hand sanitizer stations if warm water and soap are unavailable.  It is perfectly acceptable to remind family, friends and … READ MORE >>


Do Point-of-Use Water Quality Interventions Work?
Joan B. Rose, PhD

A Drinking Water Dispensing Site in India

In many regions of the developing world, good drinking water quality is far from a “given.” The fact is that water contaminated with fecal matter causes widespread diarrheal illness and death, disproportionally affecting children under the age of five.  Recently, a group of researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration1 assessed several water treatment interventions taken at the household point of use for their effectiveness in improving water quality and preventing diarrhea. A Problem of Immense Proportions According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diarrheal disease constitutes approximately 3.6 percent of the total DALY2, or “disability-adjusted life years” global burden of disease.  Diarrheal disease is responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million people every year.  Fifty-eight percent of that burden (840,000 deaths per year) is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene, according to WHO. READ MORE >> READ MORE >>

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