Shake, Bump, or High Five? The nature of germs

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This picture shows the powder transferred during a handshake simulating germ spread.  According to this picture we should have handshake free zones in our health care settings to deter the spread of pathogens. The fist bump has been declared the healthiest of all kinds of greetings. They are 20 times more hygienic than handshakes and 10 times cleaner than high-fives according to the Monday online version of the American Journal of Infection Control. Add to this all the things that hands contact in our facilities and the hand, as we know it, it a major germ carrier. The elevator buttons, door handles, and other surfaces are gross places that we place our germy hands. Think what we can bring from the lobby or the cafeteria. Handshakes last longer than fist bumps or high fives. The longer the contact the more germs  transferred.  An essay published in the American Medical Association journal last month submitted by experts at UCLA suggested that we should post signs:

“Handshake-free zone: to protect your health and the health of those around you, please refrain from shaking hands while on these premises.”

This sounds like very good advice for all of us…and besides, think how cool you will look?

New Rules Limit Contact in High School Football Practice

When I lived in a small central Texas town I was on call every Friday night. I had seats on the 50 yard line and the team physician knew exactly where my seat was. Usually, he just turned around and motioned for me to get up and drive to the hospital a couple of blocks away.  I have seen my share of concussions, broken bones, and heat related injuries. 

It has been a long time coming, but finally high school football is getting safer. I live in a state where football is king, but we are waking up from our dream sleep.  California woke up this week as it joined 19 other states that have limited contact in practice and limited the length of the practice.

Concussions among high school athletes have been increasing in recent years, although that may be the result of increased diagnosis as we have come to put a name on the dragon.  If you have not read or watched the video “League of Denial” about the professional football league and the cover up of the dangerous concussions and the results of those policies, it is unbelievable.

New evidence-based guidelines will be published in the September, 2014 issue of Neurosurgery which is free and available online now, for identification of concussions.  The article lists 4 signs of concussions.  They are: Observed  and documented disorientation or confusion immediately after the event;  Impaired balance within 1 day after injury; Slower reaction time within 2 days after injury; and Impaired verbal learning and memory within 2 days after injury.

People!! We are moving out of the dark ages.football helmet

Ready, Puff, Go in Washington State

It’s just hours away when the state of Washington has the first licensed recreational pot stores open. Many of the just awarded licensees received an email in the early morning hours today. This has been 20 months in the making since the recreational use was legalized. As the emailed notifications were received, shop owners began placing orders with some of the state’s licensed growers.  Some were having trouble with the software tracking system that is required.

Prices are expected to be double what is charged for the medical marijuana because of lack of supply in the beginning.  More than 2,600 people have applied to be growers and only 100 have been licensed to be growers with only a dozen ready to harvest by early this month.

In Colorado, the cash crop from recreational sales is turning out to be even more profitable than the state could have hoped. In the first four months of this year Colorado has seen more than $10 million in taxes that will go to public schools and infrastructure.  The Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper is expecting sales to top $1 billion this year with tax revenues of $134 million which is 50% more than predicted. The Governor was not in favor of the state legalization legislation. According to government data, crime has decreased since the legalization. Marijuana related arrests made up 50% of all the Colorado drug related crimes and those have plummeted since the legalization. Other crimes are down as well not at all as it was predicted.  The Governor has changed his tune saying that things are thriving in Colorado.

Public opinion has certainly changed in just a few years. This November, Washington, D.C. will vote on a marijuana ballot measure. Since the federal government and the DEA has not changed the stance on it being a crime, there will be extreme pressure for change. This may be the most important battle yet in the marijuana prohibition fight.  There is already a DEA request to remove marijuana from the Food and Drug Administration’s list of the most dangerous and harmful drugs.

At 8 AM Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the doors will open, sales will begin, and the line forms to the right.350px-Bedica,_medicinale_cannabis_flos_5_gram,_granulaat_