Thursday, June 23, 2011

How your pillow is the perfect breeding ground .....

How your pillow is the perfect breeding ground for gruesome array of pests and diseases

By Fiona Macrae

Last updated at 8:00 AM on 23rd June 2011

Sleeping comfortably? A study has found that as much as a third of a pillow could be made up of bugs, dead skin, dust mites and their faeces

It is not a thought conducive to a good night’s sleep: Up to a third of the weight of your pillow could be made up of bugs, dead skin, dust mites and their faeces.

Pillows – and the stuffy bedroom air that surrounds them – are ideal breeding grounds for undesirables ranging from the superbugs MRSA and C.diff to flu, chicken pox and even leprosy, scientists said yesterday.

While some of the bugs will only be found lurking in hospitals or in tropical climes, others will be making themselves at home in the comfort of your bed, Dr Arthur Tucker warned.

He spoke out after studying the ‘health’ of hundreds of pillows used by patients in hospitals run by Barts and the London NHS Trust.

The tests revealed high levels of ‘living’ contamination on the outside of the pillows. In some cases, rips and tears meant that the germs had found their way into the filling. 

Some pillows were contaminated with the E.coli stomach bug. Others contained germs that can cause respiratory and urinary tract infections.
Many hospital-issue pillows had more than one million Staphylococcus hominus per millilitre – the bug can cause severe infections in people with weakened immune systems. Dr Tucker described the level as a ‘bio-hazard’. He said: ‘The presence of these bugs means that they can and will be passed to patients.’

Disease-ridden: Pillows absorb bodily fluids and are an ideal home for colonies of bacteria 
Disease-ridden: Pillows absorb bodily fluids and are an ideal home for colonies of bacteria

Dr Tucker, principal clinical scientist at Barts’ vascular unit, compared the bugs growing on and in standard hospital pillows with those found in anti-bacterial versions.


Allergy sufferers should opt for synthetic pillows over feather ones and fit them with anti-allergen covers.

Kill mites by washing pillows regularly at 60C or putting them in the freezer for 24 hours.

Good Housekeeping recommends washing your pillows once every three months on a delicate cycle.

Wash two pillows together to balance the machine and use only a small amount of detergent. Rinse them twice.

On a hot sunny day, try hanging your pillows outside to dry. Bacteria and fungi like moist environments.

GH's Kathleen Hudley also has a good tip to work out if your pillow needs replacing. 

Fold it in half, place a book on top and let go. If the pillow throws off the item and fluffs back to shape, it's still sleepworthy.

He found SleepAngel pillows, made by the Irish firm Gabriel Scientific, were less likely to be contaminated on the surface than the standard NHS ones – and none tested positive for germs inside.

But the problem of bugs in pillows is not confined to hospitals. Dr Tucker warned that up to a third of the weight of your pillow could be made up of bugs, dead skin and house dust mites and their faeces.

Bacteria feast on these and multiply on and inside the pillows – some of which will never be washed.

Duncan Bain, technical director of Gabriel Scientific, said: ‘If you had to come up with a medium to cultivate bacteria, besides a Petri dish with agar [a gelatinous food], a pillow is pretty much as good as you can get.

‘It is a wet sponge that absorbs bodily fluids of various kinds providing nutrients. It is kept at the ideal temperature by the warm body lying on top.’ 

David Woolfson, the firm’s co-founder, said: ‘It is not just a problem for hospitals. It is an issue for anyone who wants to get a good night’s sleep.’

Bed bug: Up to 100,000 dust mites may be living in your pillow
Bed bug: Up to 100,000 dust mites may be living in your pillow

Dr Tucker warned that simply popping on a clean pillow case is not enough. ‘People put a clean pillow case on and it looks and smells nice and fresh but you are wrapping up something really nasty underneath,’ he said.

But leading bacteriologist Professor Hugh Pennington urged people not to worry about their pillows – pointing out that they will simply contain the bugs they have already.
He added: ‘There is plenty of opportunity to spread bugs partner to partner without pillows.’ 

For those who can’t afford new pillows, experts recommend putting synthetic and down pillows in the washing machine once every one to three months.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Deadly bacteria found in household appliances

My dishwasher is trying to kill me! Deadly bacteria found in household appliances

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 1:02 PM on 22nd June 2011
Dishwashers are a breeding ground for potentially killer bugs, say scientists.
The moist and hot environment serves as a perfect habitat for two types of dangerous fungi which can also be found in other kitchen appliances such as washing machines and coffee machines.

Researchers found 62 per cent of dishwashers contained the fungi Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis on the rubber band in the door. Both of the black yeasts are known to be dangerous to human health.

Beware the dishwasher: Heat-resistant bacteria may lurk inside your kitchen appliances
Beware the dishwasher: The moist and hot environment in a dishwasher serves as a perfect habitat for two types of dangerous fungi

Both Exophiala species displayed remarkable tolerance to heat, high salt concentrations, aggressive detergents and to both acid and alkaline water. 
This explains why the fungi survived even in high temperatures between 60 to 80C and despite the use of detergents and salt in the dishwasher. 
Researchers say that this is a combination of extreme properties not previously observed in fungi.

Exophiala dermatitidis is frequently encountered as an agent of human disease and is also known to colonise in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis.
On rare occasions it has caused fatal infections in healthy humans. 

The researchers, whose findings are published in Fungal Biology, say the invasion of black yeasts into our homes is a potential health risk.

Biologist Dr Polona Zalar, of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and colleagues said: 'The discovery of this widespread presence of extremophilic fungi in some of our common household appliances suggests these organisms have embarked on an extraordinary evolutionary process that could pose a significant risk to human health in the future.'

In the case of dishwashers, high temperatures are intermittently produced and aggressive detergents and high concentrations of salt are used in each washing cycle.

Deadly: Exophiala dermatitidis is an agent of human disease
Deadly: Exophiala dermatitidis is an agent of human disease and has been found in dishwashers and washing machines

The researchers studied the presence of fungus in dishwashers taken from a sample of private homes from 101 cities across the world.
They added: 'Enrichment of fungi that may require specific environmental conditions was observed in dishwashers, 189 of which were sampled in private homes of 101 towns or communities.

'One-hundred-and-two were sampled from various localities in Slovenia; 42 from other European countries; 13 and 3 from North and South America, respectively; 5 from Israel; 10 from South Africa; 7 from Far East Asia; and 7 from Australia.

'Sixty-two per cent of the dishwashers were positive for fungi, and 56 per cent of these accommodated Exophiala. Both Exophiala species are known to be able to cause systemic disease in humans and frequently colonise the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis.

'We conclude that high temperature, high moisture and alkaline values typically occurring in dishwashers can provide an alternative habitat for species also known to be pathogenic to humans.'





blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online