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]

Measles infected passenger puts five airports on alert

measles infected passengerHealth officials have issued a warning to passengers and airport workers at five cities after a 27 year old woman flew from London to New Mexico infected with measles.

She had not been immunized for the disease and arrived in Albuquerque quite ill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with the airlines to notify all passengers who were seated in her vicinity on the plane, but there are plenty of other opportunities to catch what she was traveling with.

Anyone that was within five rows of the woman is at risk of catching measles. Most people are immunized for measles at an early age, but those who did not receive the shot are now especially at risk, including babies and pregnant women.

The routes the infected passenger flew on are:

February 20 – London – Washington Dulles
February 22 – Baltimore – Denver
February 22 – Denver – Albuquerque

The CDC recommends that if you were on any of these flights you contact your family doctor. Symptoms include a runny nose, small red spots all over the body and a fever. If left untreated, the disease could lead to ear infections, pneumonia or even death.

SkyMall Monday: Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask ACTUAL REVIEW

Travel is a grimy, germ-filled activity that tests the limits of our tolerance for all things bacterial. Recycled plane air, cramped buses and less-than-hygienic hotel rooms all conspire to infect us. Staying healthy on the road is essential if you want to enjoy your holiday or get the job done on a business trip. However, you also want to look good when you’re traveling so that you can woo a sexy local or dress the part of a savvy business traveler. How do you keep germs at bay while also looking like the dapper gadabout that you are? Rather than compromise form for function, you deserve to look your best while continuing to feel your best. No one knows that better than the mad scientists at SkyMail. That’s why they provide you with a way to deter bacteria while inviting attention. It’s time to get sassy while staying healthy with the Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask.

I traveled with the Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask from the subways of New York City to the wide open spaces of Yellowstone National Park to a hot air balloon in Turkey’s Cappidocia region. Did it keep me healthy and appropriately dressed?

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If you’re an avid SkyMall Monday reader, you’re already familiar with Sling Couture. We reviewed their signature arm sling earlier this year. It kept us looking sophisticated while convalescing. But preventing infections and diseases is a much tougher task. I was skeptical that a flashy mask could help me avoid picking up a bug while on the road, so I put it through a series of rigorous tests.

Available in 12 styles, there’s a Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask to suit every person and mood. I tested Red Glitter, which brought out my eyes.

I headed underground to the New York City subway armed with my Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask and stood prominently in the middle of a train car. New York City subway trains are far from sanitary. Along with muffled announcements and loud music escaping from headphones, coughing is a ubiquitous sound on the subway. No matter how many people wheezed, coughed or sneezed, I stood clear of the closing doors in my shiny mask and stood out as a fashion icon in a city known for style.

From there, I took the skies and flew west to Jackson, WY. Planes are Petri dishes of bacteria. The air is stale, the space is cramped and you can feel every cough and sneeze on the back of your neck. However, I read the SkyMall catalog with no problem despite several passengers sounding as if they had typhoid. And I did so while not being one of those overly casual fliers wearing a tracksuit.

The toughest test of all soon followed as the Fashion Face Mask came with me to Turkey. The air in Istanbul is thick. Approximately 12 million people live in Turkey’s largest city and, despite its many cosmopolitan neighborhoods, it still struggles to fully modernize. As I crossed the Bospherus from Asia to Europe, I donned my mask. I stayed healthy while also looking as if I belonged in the European Capital of Culture.

If there is one downside to the Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask, it’s that the mask itself is not particularly breathable. But breathability is not a major concern when evaluating face masks. They are less like doctors masks and more similar to masks used by painters or construction workers. That said, they do a fantastic job at keeping asbestos at bay.

Travel is taxing, exhausting and, at times, sickening. Protect yourself and celebrate your style with the Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask. You’ll look good, feel good and only slightly confuse everyone around you.

Be sure to check out the gallery of photos from my travels with the Sling Couture Fashion Face Mask.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Catching the Travel Bug: Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Welcome to Catching the Travel Bug, Gadling’s mini-series on getting sick on the road, prevailing and loving travel throughout. Five of our bloggers will be telling their stories from around the globe for the next five weeks. Submit your best story about catching the travel bug in the comments and we’ll publish our favorite few at the end of the series.

SARS. The subject was worked into every conversation amongst the expats and long-term tourists in Vietnam. The government claimed that the virus had been contained in several northern provinces, far away from Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City to Communist Party officials and fresh-off-the-plane tourists). Still. There were rumors about people’s neighbors being taken away in the middle of the night to be quarantined because of a persistent cough. Mostly, that was just speculation, fueled by one too many beers or one too many years in country.

Nonetheless, when I came down with a cough and fever, I had thoughts of gasping for breath in a hidden away hospital ward guarded by CP officials who didn’t want their SARS secret to get out. I wrote my illness off as a regular flu bug I’d picked up from being in a classroom teaching eight-year-old Vietnamese kids how to speak English. When my chest started to tighten and my cough to turn into a wheeze, I started to worry a bit more.

I confided in my girlfriend who took me to a doctor who had an after-hours private practice in his home. I was assured that he spoke English. He spoke great Russian because he’d been schooled in Moscow, but only a bit of English (like “Injection” and “Infection”). Between my modest Vietnamese skills and miming and his pidgin of Russian, English, and charades, I was able to get started on an IV of antibiotics. But he wanted an x-ray to rule out the unspoken disease. He kept asking me if I had been up north, to the areas that were hit by SARS. I said no, but he casually slipped a surgical mask on before starting me on the IV.
I got into the x-ray at a hospital the next day. It took two hours in the waiting room, which was not the best experience. Radiology was located by a nurses’ station and there were several people on hospital beds just parked in the hallway. I found out from a smiling but nervous lady in a neighboring seat that they were on a death watch. The nurses could keep an eye on them until the end.

The x-ray technician was unfamiliar with practicing his trade on someone of my height. It took 5 tries to get it right. I paid him 150,000 dong ($10 US) to hand the pictures directly to me instead of putting them up with the others.

My next antibiotic session consisted of me and about 4 others, sitting in plastic lawn chairs in the doctor’s back room with drips hanging from hooks in the wall. One guy smoked the entire time, but no one said anything.

A few days later, I went through the x-ray ordeal again. This time a smiling technician got it right on the second try. Through my girlfriend the doctor said that he chalked it up to a chest infection.

“No SARS?” I asked.

“No SARS.” He chuckled, said something in Russian, and patted me on the shoulder.

Check out the past travel-bug features here.