Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Getting the facts about germs
Whether it is West Nile Virus, Monkey Pox, Asian Bird Flu, or just that nasty little bug going around the office, one cannot help but feel surrounded by germs and often helpless to stop them.
One of the best ways to avoid sickness though is knowledge and by reading The Official Guide to Germs and 505 Flabbergasting Facts About Germs, both written by author Carole Marsh and published by Gallopade International, readers can learn about everything from Anthrax to Zoonoses.
Marsh, a native of Atlanta and current Peachtree City resident, grew up in the shadow of the CDC. Instead of telling ghost stories, my friends and I told germ stories, said Marsh, who is an award-winning author and specializes in writing about tough subjects in plain English. Its time we learn more about germs. What we dont know could hurt us and what we do learn could save the life of someone we love.
The Official Guide to Germs goes alphabetically down the list of things to watch out for. For instance, adenovirus germs cause the common cold. Some ways to prevent the common cold are to limit your sugar intake, stay hydrated and limit the intake of iron, if possible, because it is a mineral that feeds bacteria. Another example of a bacteria mentioned in the book is Listeria, which is a form of food poisoning that can be prevented by avoiding soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk.
In addition to the pages and pages of material about germs and diseases, The Official Guide to Germs also includes a list of further resources, including a list of Web sites and phone numbers, a glossary, a place to keep pertinent family medical and emergency contact information, and much more. Though some of the diseases discussed are extremely rare occurrences in America or have been cured, the book still offers a thorough examination of germs and illnesses and how to prevent and treat them.
505 Flabbergasting Facts About Germs is less a reference material and more of an interesting read. Marsh has assembled hundred of interesting facts about germs, bacteria and disease. For instance:
Psychologists from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that the immune systems of college students who engaged in sexual intercourse at least once a week, but not more than twice a week, were able to better defend against colds and the flu.
It is widely believed that anthrax was the cause of the fifth and sixth plagues in the Book of Exodus in the Bible.
Botulinum is six million times more toxic than rattlesnake venom. A lethal dose is a mere 1.10,00th of a milligram. Botox, a popular cure for facial wrinkles, is made from a form of botulinum.
In early 2003, a news report in New Mexico stated that with the use of Doppler radar, scientists would be able to predict the next Hantavirus epidemic, to a specific house.
Kissing boosts the immune system by helping the body beef up its defenses against germs.
According to the CDC, nearly one in four Americans are infected each year by something they eat.
Tests show that up to 18 percent of food handlers in restaurants have intestinal infections.
It is estimated that a single teaspoon of soil may contain thousands of different species of germs. A single spoonful of seawater can contain more than one billion viruses.
When you sneeze, germs can shoot out at a race car pace of 100 miles per hour.
Only one percent of the United States budget for health care is spent on disease prevention.
People who attend church have stronger immune responses to infections.
Those facts are just the tip of the iceberg. 505 Flabbergasting Facts About Germs doesnt just stop at 505. There are over a hundred more interesting pieces of knowledge in the book, as well as a glossary and a list of resources. Marsh is also currently hard at work on two more germ-related books, A is for Anthrax and Banned By The CDC. She also has written a book about germs for younger readers called A Kids Official Guide to Germs: Our Enemies and Our Friends!
Marsh feels it is important to mention that none of these titles are scary books. Scary is when we dont know about something, she explained. All of these titles are available at www.gallopade.com.