5 Health Threats Generally Ignored

One of the advantages of modern society is that we are provided with more useful health information than ever before. While much of that “information” may not be 100% correct or of any practical use in some cases, the fact remains that, if there were a health threat most of us needed to know about, chances are we would promptly find out about it through our ubiquitous media channels. Consequently, it is safe to say that we are, for the most part, well-informed on major health matters. One downside of all this information, though, is that we now have a tendency to ignore relatively small health threats, preferring to concentrate on major ones. Here are five of those ignored or overlooked health “threats”:

1. Flushing the toilet with the bowl covers up. When we flush the toilet, we release millions of dangerous bacteria in the mist released into the surrounding air. These floating wet particles then land on personal care items (toothbrushes, dental floss, dentures, wash cloths, cosmetics, etc.) near the toilet. This then creates a transmission system which, although we may not see it, can potentially introduce e-coli and other pathogens into our bodies; one of the consequences is an opportunity for pathogenicity.

2. Walking barefoot, especially outdoors. Many older people fondly remember being able to walk to school or to play around barefoot in their communities when they were children. While that may have been a harmless practice back then (especially in farm country and in small towns), it can be a very dangerous practice these days. Not only are our streets, alley ways, parking lots, driveways, and vacant lots full of broken glass, nails, screws, pieces of rusted metal, medical waste (including disease-carrying discarded syringes), and other flesh-ripping things, but we also have all kinds of toxic chemicals, not to mention animals that have been driven from wild habitats, now posing a threat to children and adults alike. Stepping on a syringe, for example, dropped by an addicts can expose victims to the AIDS virus (HIV), hepatitis, TB, meningitis, etc. Especially in the case of children, no one should be walking around barefoot, most notably if residing in an urban environment.

3. Getting into unventilated overheated cars in the summer. The temperature inside a closed-up car can get very high, high enough to boil some of the chemicals out of the many types of plastics, rubber, and other synthetics used in car manufacturing. When you step into a hot car, you may be entering a vault full of potentially harmful gases. What some people do next can only make the problem worse: closing all the doors and turning on the air conditioning at full blast. This only traps that toxic air inside the car, forcing the passengers to unnecessarily inhale the toxic fumes. A better idea is to let the car vent out, preferably by opening all the windows, before entering the vehicle and driving away.

4. Using the bed covers in most hotels. Although sheets and pillow covers may (or may not) be changed on a regular basis, bed covers are not washed very often (if ever) in most hotels. Even for those hotels that may periodically clean them, the reality is that you will be using something that other people with possibly dangerous medical problems also used. They may have drooled on, allowed their sores and infected wounds to rub against, deposited sexual ejaculates on, or even have partly urinated/defecated on the same covers that you later put over your face or next to your otherwise healthy skin. As a general rule, you should seriously consider bringing your own blanket instead of using hotel bed covers.

5. Getting into shower stalls while not wearing shower slippers. Fungal infections are only one of several types of infections you can pick up from shower stall floors, especially in stalls shared by a large number of people, as is the case in hotel and dormitory facilities. Your vulnerability is exacerbated if you have any cuts on your feet, if your immune system has been compromised, or if you are prone to certain types of infections. One easy way that you can avoid problems is by wearing shower shoes or flip-flops when you take a shower. This simple act may avert unnecessarily complicated problems later on.


1. “Shower Shoes: Prevent Athlete’s Foot and Toenail Fungus”

2. “How Often Are Hotel and Motel Bed Covers Cleaned?”

3. “The Ugly Truth about Your Toothbrush”

4. “Indoor Air Quality Hazards of New Cars”

5. “Athlete’s Foot: Risk Factors”

6. “Does Flushing the Toilet Pose a Health Threat?”

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