+
Family

Grandparents, your hands are amazing. But we all need to know this about our hand hygiene.

This new study is alarming, but what simple steps would a medical professional recommend we take to help our loved ones as they depart a hospital stay?

If you're a grandparent, your hands are amazing.

Image from Jessie Jacobson/Flickr.


Your hands might be soft and warm, meant for hugging grandkids or making batches of cookies. Or maybe they're a bit more worn, bearing the scars of years of hard work. After all, they're the same hands that may have raised a family or built a house or driven across the country uphill both ways without air conditioning. Your hands carry the legacy of everything you've created in your lifetime.

But if you're a senior and were recently in the hospital, your hands might be carrying something else too.

Roughly 1 in 4 seniors leaving the hospital and going to other care facilities may be carrying superbugs on their hands, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.

Superbugs, also known as multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), are bacteria that have grown immune to antibiotic drugs, making them incredibly hard to treat and potentially deadly.

One of the most common superbugs is MRSA, seen here under powerful magnification. Image from Janice Carr/CDC/Wikimedia Commons.

"There are 2 million people who become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics," study author Dr. Lona Mody said in an interview, "and about 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these resistant infections."

The results of the study suggest seniors picked up the superbugs while in the hospital — but the really scary thing is that while carrying the bugs on their hands doesn't necessarily mean those seniors will get sick, they can still transmit them to other people around them.

There has been a huge focus on making sure doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff have good hand hygiene, but Dr. Mody's study highlights the importance of educating and enabling patients to stay bug-free when they leave the hospital as well.

The good news: There are some really easy steps anyone who's been in the hospital recently can take to protect themselves and others.

The new study focused on seniors going to care facilities, but these rules could apply to anyone who has stayed in a hospital recently. So without further ado:

1. The best thing is also the simplest: Wash your hands with soap and water.

While this might seem obvious, there's actually a specific twist on this piece of advice based on the results of Dr. Mody's study — it turns out that while doctors and nurses already have to regularly wash their hands, most hospitals don't ask the patients to do the same.

Image from Arlington County/Flickr.

Hospitals should do this! No matter how scary a superbug may be, a good scrub with soap and water will usually eliminate any potential threat before it gets too far.

Dr. Mody also recommends that hospitals pay attention to the layout of a patient's room, which could make it difficult for them to get to a sink. If hospitals and care facilities work with patients to figure out how to make it easy for everyone to practice good hand hygiene, we can prevent these superbugs from spreading earlier on.

2. If you can't get to soap and water, alcohol gel disinfectants work too — and antibacterial soaps are not your friend.

If you can't get to a sink, "alcohol gel is an excellent alternative to using soap and water for hand hygiene," says Dr. Mody.

Image from Gadini/Pixabay.

You can leave the antibacterial soaps behind, though. After 40 years of government study, the FDA concluded that antibacterial soaps don't actually do much to curb bacteria.

In fact, when it comes to preventing the spread of superbugs, reaching for antibacterial and antibiotic products too soon may actually be harmful, because...

3. Too many antibiotics may actually make more superbugs.

Besides good hygiene, Dr. Mody says people can also help reduce the creation of superbugs by using antibiotics and antibacterial products as a last resort, rather than turning to them first.

MRSA bacteria under a microscope. Image via CDC/Wikimedia Commons.

Normally, antibiotics kill enough of an infection to keep us healthy. But sometimes, bacteria can mutate and pick up resistances to the drug. Haphazard use of antibiotics encourages these mutations and makes it easier for the newly dangerous bacteria to spread.

Using antibiotics more wisely, as Dr. Mody recommends, can help curb the spread of the superbugs.

What does this mean for you? Be more thoughtful about when to ask for them — antibiotics don't work for viral infections like the flu, for example. And many common infections, like ear infections, may not always need antibiotics — you should talk to your doctor and see what they think before requesting them.

4. That said, if you are on antibiotics, make sure you take all of them.

Image from freegr/Pixabay.

Don't just stop taking them when you're feeling better. If you stop early, there's a chance that a few superbug hangers-on will survive and become resistant to the drugs! Taking all your antibiotics will ensure that you get 'em all the first time around.

These steps may seem simple, but they're powerful.

Whether you're a hospital staffer who can reorganize a patient's room or remind them to wash their hands before they head out the door, or a grandparent eager to play with your grandkids, following these steps will help make sure we're all able to hug, touch, and play with our family and friends without fear of getting anyone sick.

Image from debowscyfoto/Pixabay.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

via GIPHY

A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

via GIPHY

It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

via GIPHY

Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

via GIPHY

Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

via GIPHY

Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

via GIPHY

Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

via GIPHY

It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

via GIPHY

I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

via GIPHY

Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

via GIPHY


No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

via GIPHY

The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

via GIPHY

Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

Giphy

Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

Giphy

Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.