For those of you planning air travel to your next medical conference (and ACP Internist isn’t too shameless to plug Internal Medicine 2011 — we hope to see you there), TIME reports that there are five health risks that are rare yet have recently happened. Tips on avoiding these maladies include:
— E. Coli and MRSA on the tray table. Microbiologists found these two everywhere when they swabbed down flights. Bring your own disinfecting wipes.
— Bedbugs in the seat. British Airways fumigated two planes after a passenger posted pictures online about her experience. Wrap clothes in plastic and wash them.
— Sick seatmates. Everyone has experienced (or been) this person. Wash your hands.
— Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Tennis star Serena Williams experienced a pulmonary embolism, possibly related to recent foot surgery. But DVT can happen to anyone restrained to a cramped position for long periods of time. Move around in-flight (but not during the beverage service, of course.)
— Dehydration. Dry cabin air may make it more difficult to fight off infections. Drink more water.
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
Bedbugs are back. For many people, this is only slightly curious, since their understanding of bedbugs stops at the second half of the bedtime admonition: “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” But, for those others who have experienced a home bedbug infestation, it is a modern nightmare.
The tiny critters can hide in any furniture crevice or fabric fold and come out only in the wee hours of the night in search of their favorite food: human blood. Their bites cause intense itching which can last days to weeks and they can remain dormant and hide for months.
The cause of the recent resurgence is unknown. It does not seem to be paying any great regard to socioeconomic status nor to cleanliness. In metropolitan New York, it seems to have caused a minor panic, with families having to temporarily move out of their homes for toxic fumigation and thousands of dollars of clothes and artifacts being disposed of for fear of contamination. For a chilling recounting, check out this article in the UK Guardian: “How bedbugs invaded New York.”
Since so many skin afflictions are related to insect bites, the folks at Logical Images have just released Bedbugs ‘n Things, an iPhone app that describes the most common perpetrators of insect bites, identification by the appearance of the bite marks and recommended treatment. For bedbugs in particular, it goes further and gives a thorough set of guidelines for concerned traveler so they avoid bringing home uninvited travelers inside their luggage or clothes. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*