No matter how much we learn about things in our lives, we are often bombarded with new things that challenge us. It could be an early morning routine we are habituated to that we suddenly find to be harming us, or a misconception, perhaps, about the health of our children. The more we learn, the more we find ourselves in need of further awareness about our lives. Though it probably would never be enough, learning something new can change the way we look at things. So, here are some such important facts you really need to know.
1. Apples are more efficient at waking you up in the morning than coffee.
Though apples and coffee have entirely different chemicals, they are both considered the morning fuel that can wake us up. An average cup of coffee contains around 100 milligrams of caffeine. It contains no calories or fat unless sugar or cream are added to it. The caffeine acts as a stimulant for your central nervous system and speeds up your blood circulation and in turn brain activity. However, it also has its side effects. People often experience withdrawal symptoms if they do not drink coffee on time.
Apples, on the other hand, do not contain any caffeine but have around 13 grams of fructose, a natural sugar. This triggers blood flow and with it, brain activity and energy to the body, waking you up. Additionally, apples also contain vitamins and antioxidants that are beneficial for your health. Unlike coffee, there are no withdrawal symptoms associated with apples making them a healthy alternative.(1, 2)
2. Holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock is dangerous because if the airbag deploys, the force will fling your hands into your face, causing injury. The new recommended position is 9 and 3 o’clock or 8 and 4 o’clock.
The new positions of holding the steering wheel while driving are guidelines issued by the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association to reduce the risk of injury to your thumb and face. It is also recommended that instead of wrapping your thumb around the wheel you should place it over the rim. Several incidents were reported in which people had broken thumbs. The force at which the airbag inflates could fling your hand into your face so fast that people even broke their noses and had concussions.(source)
3. Yellow snow isn’t the only snow you shouldn’t eat. Studies suggest that all snow can be harmful as it attracts particles from exhaust fumes. So, if you are eating snow, you are basically eating a pollution popsicle.
As the snow falls, its intricate latticework traps the particles in the air. According to John Pomeroy, a researcher on water resources and climate change at the University of Saskatchewan, snow acts as an atmospheric scrubbing brush taking all the atmospheric pollutants with it to the ground. Though in the process, the air becomes free of pollutants, the snow becomes full of them. This is especially true in urban areas with a lot of traffic.
It is also a bad idea to eat snow that falls over your backyard garden or on farms where pesticides are used. Plowed snow is known to contain sand and chemicals such as magnesium chloride. High elevation areas in several U.S. national parks are known to contain pesticides from 30 to 50 years ago. However, a bite or two of snow is not likely to cause much harm as the doses of these pollutants are quite low. Regular consumption, especially by children, is what should be avoided.(source)
4. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. If you have a viral infection, like a cold or most throat infections, taking antibiotics will cause more harm than good.
Bacteria and viruses are completely different organisms. While bacteria are single-celled organisms, viruses are acellular, that is they have no cell structure and require a living host to survive. Compared to bacteria, viruses are quite small and reproduce inside living cells making viral infections difficult to treat. However, many mistakenly use antibiotics when they start noticing symptoms without first determining the exact nature of the infection.
Improper use of antibiotics is dangerous as it creates bacterial strains that are resistant to the medicine. This overuse has become a major concern since it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to treat an infection caused by these new strains of bacteria. It has led many organizations to issue guidelines and recommend against antibiotics unless there is clear proof that its bacterial infection.(1, 2)
5. Newborn Babies do not shiver when they are cold. If you see one shivering, it needs immediate feeding as it could be because of low blood sugar.
Newborn babies have fat deposits around their neck, chest, back, and buttocks similar to hibernating animals. It helps them stay relatively warm and their body doesn’t need to shiver to generate heat. Shivering, however, is a symptom of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. Babies born to diabetic mothers, growth-restricted babies, premature babies with low birth weights, babies born under significant stress, or those who are large for their gestational age, are likely to develop hypoglycemia.
The brain growth in babies is dependent on their blood sugar levels. Low glucose could mean injury to the brain and cause developmental problems later in life. It is important for such children to be provided with adequate breast feeding to prevent any harm.(1,2)
6. Drowning doesn’t look anything like what you see in movies. It’s usually very quiet and hard to notice as there’s very little splashing, waving, or calling for help.
When a person is drowning, they are barely able to take a breath, let alone call for help. They would be bobbing up and down, trying to keep the mouth above water for air and then sink back in. Their arms would be out to their side, trying to keep themselves afloat. They won’t even be able to grab hold of a life preserver. Their body would look as if they are standing straight in the water as they won’t be kicking their legs.
A drowning person can only maintain that position for 20 to 30 seconds before completely going underwater. It actually looks so undramatic that in at least ten percent of the drownings, adults nearby don’t even realize a child is drowning.(1, 2)
7. If you are ever exposed to HIV, you can go to the ER within 72 hours, if not within an hour, and receive “HIV Plan B,” a post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. It can exceedingly reduce your chances of contracting the disease.
The HIV post-exposure prophylaxis is the treatment given to someone who has been potentially exposed to HIV. The treatment includes a course of antiretroviral drugs, the drugs which are normally used for HIV/AIDS management. These drugs reduce the risk of seroconversion after potential exposure. Seroconversion is the time period during which antibodies develop in response to infection.
The treatment is considered most effective when started within an hour of exposure. After 72 hours, the treatment is less effective and might not work at all. There is much data suggesting successful prevention of the disease after treatment. However, there are also cases in which it failed though the failure is attributed to delay of more than 72 hours in receiving treatment, the level of exposure, duration of treatment, or not strictly following the regimen or a combination of these. Those who receive treatment are advised to undergo a standard three-month test and an antibody test six months after exposure.(1, 2)
8. Drying hands with a paper towel reduces the bacterial count by 45 to 60 percent where as a hand dryer increases it by 255 percent. This is because the dryer blows out the bacteria living within its conveniently warm and moist environment.
Paper towels and hand dryers are currently the most common means of drying your hands after washing them. Most people believe that since no touching is required while using a hand dryer, it should be much more hygienic than using a paper towel. But, the opposite is true. When you use a paper towel, you are using friction to wipe the moisture off your hands. That friction dislodges most of the bacteria from your skin and when you throw away the paper towel you getting rid of the bacteria too.
In the case of a hand dryer, the air that blows out is from inside the dryer where it’s warm and moist. It’s a perfect place for bacteria to thrive. So, when you get a blast of that air to dry your hand, you are also getting a blast of all the bacteria inside.(source)
9. If you are a man and get a positive after urinating on a pregnancy test, it’s possible you have testicular cancer.
The pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The hormone is naturally secreted by the placenta and the tissue covering the placenta in pregnant women. There are also certain types of cancer that produce the same hormone in both men and women. Among men, it could be testicular cancer and among women, it could be cancers related to their reproductive system.(source)
10. Mixing diet soda with your drinks can get you drunk 18 percent faster than mixing regular soda.
According to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, scientists from Northern Kentucky University gave a group of college students vodka drinks with regular soda and diet soda during different visits. Each drink had enough alcohol to raise the blood alcohol levels to the legal driving limit. After the students had their drinks in about ten minutes, their breath was tested. Surprisingly, the students who drank the vodka with regular soda tested under legal limits while the students who drank drinks with diet soda were over the limit.(source)