Health snippets

     Print Edition: May 13, 2012

A Germ Free Workspace

You spend a third of your adult life at work. That's reason enough to make the workplace healthier . Here's how

The recent Matt Damon movie Contagion dealt with a virus that spread by touch and killed within days. Thankfully, not all viruses are as deadly, but a shocking 80 per cent of infectious diseases are spread by touch. Here are five tips to keep your workplace disease free and yourself a lot healthier.

SPECIAL: Wake up early to stay fit

Hand sanitisers are your first line of defence. They kill almost all germs you've contracted and inhibit the spread of viruses you might carry. Get one with less about 65 per cent alcohol to avoid drying your skin. Sanitising wipes are a good idea to kill germs that reside on your desk. Use them to wipe palm rests, keyboards, the mouse, CPU buttons, switches, the table top, etc.

While we're on the subject, your keyboard needs particular attention. Turn it over at least once a week to knock out food and dust particles that get trapped between keys, or better yet, use a mini vacuum cleaner. Carrying your own bottle reduces the risk of contacting surfaces if you fill it from a distance. Even so, wash it regularly with soap to be safe. This practise also cuts down on wasteful paper cups.

Finally, store foods in airtight containers. Foodstuffs not only encourage bacterial growth, they also attract pests such as mice, which carry other disease risks.
Fourteen hours into the day and you're still two hours away from closing your project. Right about now, most people would reach for an energy drink to see themselves through the slog overs. But with all their artificial additives and sugar, are these really the safest way to stay alert for a short while longer? Several companies have begun to offer all-natural energy drinks that cut out additives like taurine and artificial preservatives and sugars.

These use fruit and root extracts that naturally contain stimulants and vitamins. All the same, limit yourself to just one drink. Better yet, try some ice water with a dash of lemon.

Don't Lose Sleep Over Insomnia
Insomnia is much more common than you think. In one US study, nearly 60 percent of the people interviewed complained of poor or broken sleep at least once a week. Insomnia isn't necessarily sleeping fewer hours. Many can do with just six hours of sleep a day. However, if you're waking up unrefreshed, feel drowsy during the day or can't fall asleep at night, it's time to consider some changes.

Start with your lifestyle. Insomnia frequently hits people who don't sleep at regular times, stay up in bed working or watching TV, work late shifts or sleep with too much light or noise around them. If you fall in any of these categories, ease out of them out of your life.

Examine your diet too. Late coffees are a no-no, as is excessive alcohol or late, heavy dinners. If diet and lifestyle changes don't help, visit a doctor. He or she can rule out other physiological factors and/or prescribe medicines to alleviate T any underlying condition.

Yogurt With Sunflower Seeds
Stir a teaspoon of sunflower seeds into half a cup of fat-free yogurt. This combination is rich in essential fats and protein. A refreshing daytime snack. Half a Baked Potato with Salsa Bake a potato for an easy snack. Half a medium-sized potato contains 80 calories. Keep the skin for its nutrients. Add a tablespoon of salsa to spice it up.

Three Crackers With Cheese
The fibre from whole-grain crackers will keep you feeling full and the cheese, will be your source of protein and calcium. Split a single slice of lowfat cheese on three crackers and you have a delicious and healthy treat.

Baked Apple
Apples are one of the healthiest snacks around. Baked apples taste just like dessert but provide the same vitamins and fibre as their fresh counterparts.

Frozen Banana Pop
Insert popsicle sticks into bananas and coat them with low-fat plain yogurt. Put the pops in the freezer, and soon you'll have ready-to-eat low-calorie treats.


 You're about to hit the road for a long trip. The last thing you want is to be ill while on tour. Here's what you should pack.

A first-aid kit

This should contain bandages, tweezers, scissors, antiseptic cream and a couple of palm-length splints to immobilise fractures.

Emergency medicine

This should include tablets or pills for colds, headaches, motion sickness, diarrhoea, vomiting, inflammation and any allergies.

Daily-to-day drugs

This includes drugs like insulin or blood pressure medicine, etc. that you've been prescribed. Ask a doctor about any vaccines required for the region you're visiting. Travel-cum-medical insurance is also a sound investment.

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