Who Has Europe’s Dirtiest Currency?

Think about how many hands the average dollar bill passes through; all jokes about “dirty money” aside, it’s practically impossible for the money that you carry in your wallet to be clean. But some bills are dirtier than others.

Researchers at Oxford put European currencies and banknotes to the test, finding that British pounds are actually cleaner than Euros. On average European bills and coins contain 26,000 bacteria, while UK currency has around 18,200.

How dirty is that? According to Ian Thompson, Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford, 11,000 bacteria is enough to pass on an infection. Makes you want to go wash your hands after paying for your souvenirs doesn’t it?

Surprisingly enough, clean and efficient Scandinavia actually tops the list of dirty cash. The dirtiest currency was the Denmark krone, at 40,266 bacteria, with the Swedish crown at 39,600 not far behind.

Maybe it’s another reason to get behind the Euro?

[Photo Credit: Jixar]

Canadian Hotel Rooms Test High For Bacteria, Investigation Shows

Oh, Canada. You’ve got national healthcare and spectacular scenery, but your hotel rooms … those need work.

According to a recent CBC Marketplace investigation conducted by a microbiologist, six diverse chain hotels ranging from budget to high-end had, “high levels of contamination creating potentially hazardous conditions for guests.”

Marketplace apparently surveyed thousands of “high-touch” spots in 54 rooms, using a “an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measuring device that determines microbial contamination on surfaces.”

The filthiest items likely won’t come as a surprise to frequent travelers: bed comforters, bathroom faucets, and remote controls took top honors for bacterial counts. Microbiologist Keith Warriner of Guelph University, who conducted the investigation, warns that hotel bacteria is a greater health risk to guests, because the germs come from literally thousands of different bodies. In the case of bedding, we’re exposed to those nasties for a longer period of time.

If money is tight, you’ll be happy to know that ubiquitous cheapie Super 8 had some of the cleanest bathrooms, while luxury hotels often had poor results. The big picture is that just because a room looks clean, doesn’t mean it is. Blame overworked (and likely underpaid) hotel staff, who often don’t have adequate time to deep-clean all of the required rooms on their shifts.

Here’s a tip: Bring your own pillowcase, fold down the comforter, and make friends with a bottle of Purell when staying in a hotel or motel. Otherwise, just look at it as an immune system-building holiday.

[Photo credit: flickr user adrigu]

SkyMall Monday: GermBana Face Gator, Gloves & Scarf

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean that you can’t get sick. While we associate the flu and other ailments with winter, summer colds are common and can derail our warm weather wackiness. Travel, of course, is always germ-laden but you don’t need to venture that far from home to encounter illness. Heck, your mailman delivers filthy papers to you everyday. That lunch buffet that you frequent because it has both tacos and spaghetti? Yeah, it also has E. coli. Your kids? Ticking time bombs filled with fecal matter. Thankfully, there is a way to protect yourself without resorting to living in a bubble. SkyMall is here to help us live our full and filthy lives. Now, we can safely leave the SkyMall Monday headquarters and you can, too, can enjoy that whole big world out there thanks to the GermBana Face Gator, Gloves and Scarf.GermBana products are “made from Fibrant, the revolutionary fabric infused with a natural agent that kills germs on contact, including MRSA. Fibrant incorporates an advanced moisture management system to keep you cool, dry and odor free.” Sure, Fibrant sounds like the name of a brightly-colored fiber cereal, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t work.

GermBana Face Gator

Let’s start with the product description:

The Face Gator is designed to be worn discreetly around your neck and pulled up over your nose and mouth when you need added protection from germs or are sick and want to keep your germs away from others.

It will look totally natural when you move it from your neck to your mouth right as that gross guy from your department sits down next to you in the conference room.

GermBana Gloves

The Gloves are designed so they are comfortable to wear all day. Whether you are shopping or traveling in places where you may be handling germ-invested products or touching surfaces that can transfer germs to your face or loved ones, the Gloves will protect you and others.

We’ll ignore for a moment that it describes the gloves as “germ-invested,” as gold is trading at a much higher price than germs right now and, thus, is the wiser investment. More importantly, it’s about time that we had gloves that we can wear all day. From the grocery store to church to crime scenes, we’ll stay healthy and inconspicuous.

GermBana Scarf

The Scarf is designed to be worn around the neck and used to kill germs when you cough or sneeze into it, rather than your arm where germs can live up to 48 hours.

The pockets hold tissue or hand sanitizer, and can double as mittens when you have to touch germ-infested surfaces.

Since none of us bathe, germs live on our arms for two days. The pockets, of course, can hold more than tissues and hand sanitizer. You can keep your Fashion Face Mask or other customized masks in there. You could even keep your foil hat.

So, step back into the world and don’t worry about getting sick. That means more time to go to work, take care of your kids and do all those errands that your spouse keeps nagging you about. Hooray!

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Britons Bring Bowel Bacteria Onto Buses

I’ve never been much of a germaphobe. I don’t carry Purell with me. I don’t wash my hands obsessively. And I don’t walk around with a mask on. But then I come across a story like this one on the BBC News website and I start to question whether I should live in a bubble. A recent recent study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (is there a better location for the study of tropical medicine?) has discovered that more than one in four commuters in the UK has bacteria associated with fecal matter on their hands.

Dr. Val Curtis, director of the Hygiene Center at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said, “If any of these people had been suffering from a diarrhoeal disease, the potential for it to be passed around would be greatly increased by their failure to wash their hands after going to the toilet.” That, quite frankly, is more than I need from my daily commute. I’m just looking to get from Point A to Point B. Point D(iarrhea) is not part of my plan.

I ride the New York City subways to work everyday and I will admit that I avoid holding onto the bars/poles in the trains as much as possible. If I have to hold on, I typically wrap my arm around the pole so as to keep my hands clean. But sometimes you just have to grab on. However, I’m fairly certain that I don’t have fecal matter all over my hands. Because I wash them after I use the toilet. It’s everyone else who is apparently wiping their asses barehanded and then touching everything.

So, as we approach cold and flu season, perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves to wash our hands often. And use toilet paper instead of just our hands. It’s a great big world out there but it’s the tiny bacteria that will kill you. Or at least ravage your GI tract. Be sure to wave at me when I pass by in my bubble.

Germ-eliminating wand: an addition to your travel-kit

Remember the last time you woke up all scratchy from your hotel/bed? Or when the hotel’s carpet smelt like cat poo? Or when there was a layer of grime on the kitchen table-top of the apartment you rented out on your trip?

Well, now instead of taking a long shower with your eyes closed and trying to keep away nightmares of waking up with hives, you can be the wizard of cleanliness by owning a Hammacher Schlemmer germ-eliminating wand.

The device uses UV-C (a shortwave ultraviolet light that has disinfectant properties) to eliminate 99% of bacteria, viruses, mold, and dust mites in the bathroom, in the kitchen, or on your bedding.

All you have to do is move around the wand’s 6-inch long light bulb over all the surfaces you want ”purified” and it will rapidly disinfect everything. By holding the wand over the contaminated surface for 20 seconds, the UV light will kill all the E.coli, salmonella and staphylococcus that cause the common cold and the flu.

The wand can be programmed for up to an hour and has an automatic shut-off option. However, be careful as overexposure to UV-C can lead to skin-redness and eye irritation.

It costs about $100; perhaps not a bad investment eh?