Sneezing, bacteria, and stuff I wish I didn't know
My wife and kids have allergies. This is not unusual, as well over 1/3rd of Americans have allergies. It seemed a bit worse this year, and maybe I wasn't just imagining it. Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic recorded the second-highest daily pollen count since measuring began in 1995.  Pets are a known cause of allergies, and my old (now dead) cat, "Meowie", could get me sneezing after a good tussling. We do have a weiner dog, so maybe that's the cause. Apparently there are some allergy body suits you can put on dogs, but they look really stupid if you ask me.
A bit worse than allergies, however, is when one sneezes due to irritation from a bacterial cold. Here's a fact I wish I didn't know:
- Most of the research shows that a sneeze propels air from your nose at approximately 100 mph, dispersing more than 100,000 bacteria into the air at a range of 2 to 3 yards.
Most of the time, this isn't a worry, since if someone sneezes, the odds are apparently low you'll catch anything. (One is more more likely to get sick from picking up germs on a doorknob then from a sneeze particle in the air.) But suppose you live with someone who is sneezing all the time with a bacterial cold. This means that the bacteriological spew is constantly floating around the room.
Of course I once read a very suprising fact about how germs spread. It was noted by a professor of microbiology at University of Arizona (Tucson). Consider this on your next date:
- "The bottom of women's purses are pretty bad.... About 25% have fecal bacteria because women put it down on the toilet floor in the restroom.... Encourage your son or daughter to hang their backpack on a hook if they take it to the school restroom."
Doh! Think about that next time the little lady or some kid hands you their stuff.
[picture] (Accessed April 26, 2006) http://courses.interaction-ivrea.it/zoom/private_lives_public_health/images/sneeze.jpg
 "Immunotherapy Weekly" NewsRX (Accessed April 26, 2006) http://www.newsrx.com/newsletters/Immunotherapy-Weekly/1999-11-29.html
 Jessica Golden "What Does Your Sneeze Say About You?" ABC News Online (Accessed April 25th, 2006) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=1888466&page=2
 Marc Lallanilla "Achoo! Spring Allergy Season Worst in Years" ABC News Online (Accessed April 25th, 2006) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AllergyAndAsthmaResourceCenter/story?id=1859944&page=1
 D. Mann "Germs in the School Room" WebMD (Accessed April 26th, 2006). http://www.webmd.com/content/article/113/110822.htm