Hospital SARS may have been spread by oxygen masks. It has been postulated that SARS patients receiving oxygen therapy in hospital were a potential source of lethal contamination. Healthcare workers present at the side of the patient during exhalation were involved in a cloud of exhaled droplets via the mask. This contaminated cloud could extend five metres. The study used special techniques to create images of the escaping gases. Newly designed ventless masks with filters have been developed.1
GO AHEAD–EAT THE DARK CHOCOLATE!
However, it should be the expensive dark chocolate, not the sweet type laden with table sugar and fructose. The sugar level is most often lower in dark chocolate.
A Greek study2 showed that dark chocolate improved the function of blood vessels. One hour after eating the dark chocolate, dialation of 0.15mm width was seen in an arm artery, at rest (compared to those who did not). The test involved healthy younger adults and showed that eating 100 grams of dark chocolate presented functional benefits for at least three hours. The good properties of chocolate, in addition to the luxurious taste, are due to antioxidants called flavanoids, which help guard the blood vessels from the damage from free radicals (unstable oxygen compounds). The cocoa content in the chocolate used in the study was 74 percent, so you can’t cheat with that sweet milk chocolate bar.
MORE RESTRICTIONS ON MEDICATIONS
The recent Vioxx saga is not as clear and simple as it appears. The population with the pain, discomfort and restrictions of arthritis regrets its loss of relief while those who may be prevented from having a fatal MI may live to have a better prognosis.
The present population has a tendency to ‘pop’ a pill any time they feel uncomfortable. Particularly in the United States, advertisers are begging the populace to ask their doctors about pill ‘X’. Logic might direct one to the conclusion that if one thinks the population is overmedicated then some control should be exercised on the media.
More definitive labels are needed on medications. More restrictive warnings are necessary that advise of the limitations of the medication in particular circumstances. What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.
The cox-2 inhibitors will be missed. As practitioners, we are pressed to remember that medications are chemicals that can alter body function with as much danger as surgery. Medications are hazardous. Education, common sense and detailed histories coupled with sound judgement are a ‘must’.3
LOWER PROTEIN GLOVES REDUCE LATEX-ALLERGIC REACTIONS
Recent studies demonstrate that the amount of protein in the gloves relates to the number of individuals who react to natural rubber latex gloves. By using lower protein gloves, healthcare settings can help address latex-allergy issues among glove users. Look for labeling that lists the protein content of the gloves, identifying them as conforming to the latest American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) standards, or lists Standard Malaysian Glove (SMG) certification. Gloves bearing the SMG label conform to published standards and are routinely inspected for quality.4OH
1.CHEST, Publication of the American College of Chest Physicians. May 9, 2004.
2.Charalambos Vlachopoulus, European Society of Cardiology.
3.R.A. Clappison, editorial comment.
4.OSAP — Health Devices, 2004. May;33(5):169.