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Entries in Bathroom (4)

Wednesday
Dec122012

Ten Health Hazards Lurking on Your Bathroom Shelf

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Staples in many American homes, including cotton swabs, mouthwash, eye drops, lip balm and mascara, may have hidden hazards, according to Consumer Reports.

"It's just a reminder that these everyday products, that can seem innocuous, may be harmful if we aren't paying attention to how we're using them," said Jody Rohlena, senior editor of ShopSmart, the Consumer Reports magazine that highlighted the 10 products.  The other five items include hair spray, contact lenses, eye make-up, hydrogen peroxide and vaginal douches.

Take eye make-up for example.  The magazine says women risk a bacterial infection if they hang onto their make-up too long, or moisten that eye pencil with a little water or saliva.  It advises users to wash their hands before putting on make-up and replace mascara every few months.

Even the folks who represent the cosmetics industry don't quibble with the suggestions.  Linda Lorett, chief toxicologist for the Personal Care Products Association, spoke to ABC News and called the recommendations "common sense."

However, Lorett did take issue with a number of the magazine's hidden hazards.  

ShopSmart warned against using propellant hairsprays, and said even pump sprays should only be used with eyes and mouth closed and in a well ventilated space.  Lorett insisted that all types of hair spray are safety tested, and that "any exposure would be low and short-term."  She says the safety testing assumes women will use the sprays in tight spaces, such as a bathroom.

Lip balm is also on the "caution" list, for those people who might develop an allergy or sensitivity to any dyes or fragrances in the product.  Lorett contends such a reaction would be extremely rare, and even Rohlena admits: "I am addicted to my lip gloss and I keep using that."

The magazine points out there are other options for those chapped lips, including petroleum jelly and brands with no added scents or color.

And what about the simple cotton swab?  The magazine warns that a recent study found a "direct link between their use and ruptured ear drums."  The study's author says there's no need to use the swabs to clean out the ears and that a little ear wax won't hurt.

A spokesman for Unilever, the maker of Q-tips, points out that the packaging warns against inserting the swabs into the ear canal, and says if you want to use Q-tips on the ears, stick to the outer surface only.

"Some of these behaviors are just really habits," said Rohlena.  "You've done them for years, and maybe your mother did too.  I urge people to read the fine print, even if you've been using the product for a long time."

Hydrogen peroxide has long been a family favorite to clean out scrapes and cuts, but Rohlena says soap and water works just as well, and might be less irritating to healthy tissue.

As for those who rely on contact lenses, the advice: never rinse the lenses in water, and replace that contact lens case every three months.  The magazine also recommends that consumers go easy on any eye drops or mouthwashes and skip vaginal douches entirely.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Most Americans Are Washing Up After Using Public Restrooms

Michael Hevesy/The Image Bank(MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis.) -- Americans are becoming more conscientious when it comes to washing their hands after using a public restroom.  According to the third annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey, 90 percent of Americans said they wash after using a public restroom, up from 87 percent in 2009.  The online survey of 1,053 respondents was commissioned by Bradley Corporation of Menomonee Falls, a manufacturer of bathroom furnishings.

The survey also revealed that 89 percent of parents planned to talk to their kids about the importance of hand washing at school.

Bradley's third annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey also revealed:

-- 64 percent of Americans always wet their hands before adding soap.
-- 13 percent always wash their hands for a specific amount of time.
-- 26 percent use a towel, sleeve or other material to open the restroom door after washing their hands.
-- 11 percent admit they are a germaphobe and have a fear of germs or unsanitary surfaces.
-- Stall door handles, restroom entrance doors and faucet handles are the top three surfaces respondents dislike touching the most in a public restroom.
-- 26 percent prefer to stop at a fast food restaurant for a restroom break when taking a car trip. McDonald's was the fast foot outlet mentioned most frequently. Another 25 percent prefer a state rest area.
-- 91 percent of respondents say an unclean restroom gives them a negative perception of a business.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep082011

Survey: Most Americans Wash Hands after Using Public Restrooms

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Americans are becoming more conscientious when it comes to washing their hands after using public restrooms.  

According to the third annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey, 90 percent of Americans say they soap up after using a public restroom, up from 87 percent in 2009.  The online survey of 1,053 respondents was commissioned by Bradley Corporation of Menomonee Falls, a manufacturer of bathroom furnishings.

The survey also revealed that 89 percent of parents plan to talk to their kids about the importance of hand washing at school.

Among the survey's other findings:

  • 64 percent of Americans always wet their hands before adding soap.
  • 13 percent always wash their hands for a specific amount of time.
  • 26 percent use a towel, sleeve or other material to open the restroom door after washing their hands.
  • 11 percent admit they are a germaphobe and have a fear of germs or unsanitary surfaces.
  • Stall door handles, restroom entrance doors and faucet handles are the top three surfaces respondents dislike touching the most in a public restroom.
  • 26 percent prefer to stop at a fast food restaurant for a restroom break when taking a car trip.  McDonald's was the fast foot outlet mentioned most frequently.  Another 25 percent prefer a state rest area.
  • 91 percent of respondents say an unclean restroom gives them a negative perception of a business.

 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun092011

Bathroom Injuries Cause Thousands of Visits to ER

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 234,000 people ages 15 and older were treated in an American emergency department for non-fatal bathroom-related injuries in 2008. That averages to about 640 people per day.

"What was interesting in this study was that even though the injury rates were lower in younger people, people of all ages fell in the shower or tub," said Judy Stevens, lead author of the study and a national epidemiological expert on older adult falls and fall prevention. "This supports the recommendation of having grab bars installed inside and outside the tub and shower."

Experts said the bathroom can pose dangers because of its wet, hard surfaces; how a person is often rushing to get to the bathroom; and the heat, which can dilate peripheral veins and lower blood pressure, causing dizziness in some people.

More than 80 percent of bathroom-related injuries were caused by slips and falls, mostly while getting in and out of the tub or shower, and about 30 percent of those injuries included cuts, scrapes and bruises. Injury rates were more common in women and older patients. Younger people were more likely to be hurt in or around the tub, while older people sustained more injuries on or near the toilet.

Many retirees cannot afford bathroom renovations to install grab bars and other bathroom safety features, noted Dr. Carl Ramsay, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"So they live with the same wet floors; slippery, high-walled bathtubs-showers; and no handrails -- despite having a tendency to have an increasingly unsteady gait, relatively weaker muscles and bones," said Ramsay. "In addition, they are frequently on medications that control their heart rate, thus blunting their bodies' natural responses to a change of positions from sitting to standing."

Ramsay said the medication can lead to lightheadedness and sometimes loss of consciousness after using the toilet.

But Dr. Jeffrey Suchard, professor of clinical emergency medicine at University of California, Irvine Medical Center, noted that the study does not compare bathroom-related injuries with those occurring in other locations or rooms, so one cannot conclude that the bathroom is particularly dangerous. While it could be, Suchard said there's no reason to fear the bathroom.

"[The study's] estimate of the number of injuries represents only about 1 percent of all non-fatal injuries that occur," said Suchard. "To me, that is actually a surprisingly low percentage of all non-fatal injuries, considering how much time people spend in bathrooms compared to other locations, the frequent wet bathroom surfaces making falls more likely, and equipment that might injure you if you came into contact with it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio