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Comment Sounds like Free vaccination... (Score 1, Insightful) 280

Anti-vaxxers (which I know are literally non-existent on /.) need not read further. I think exposure to most new pathogens is likely what keeps our immune systems training, learning and ultimately healthy. Plus a bit of mild diarrhoea is a good cleanser ;) Seriously though, I imagine those going to the Olympics will have received their respective vaccinations well in advance. Otherwise, you might find consolation in the fact that Brazilians swim, drink, (have lots of sex with everything and anything) - and are doing ah-OK. * {usual disclaimer stuff here}

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Geek Gear Hygiene

dimethylxanthine writes: Beloved fellow techies, hackers, geeks — in other word — Slashdotters!

As a consultant and bespoke solutions provider for anything ranging from managed networking solutions to full-stack bespoke application development I spend a substantial amount of time on the road, together with my loyal backpack (which also enjoys trekking and hiking with me) and a Pelican case where I pack my gear, including but not limited to laptops, routers, power adapters, cables, tools — you get the picture.

The backpack, weighing in at an average of 10-15 kilos (~20-30lb for those of you loyal to the Empire), so it spends most of its time on the floor of public transit vehicles, airports and venue floors, inevitably absorbing generous amounts of lifeforms spanning all domains, in addition to stale bits of food and drink which guests inevitably leave behind... Likewise, everything comes back home at the end of the day, sometimes dumped in the nearest patch of unoccupied floor space, which is usually in the vicinity of my bed (I live in Hong Kong, so there's not much room anyway) or on any of a number of bits of furniture, including the bed, depending on the day :-)

Given my personal interest in biology (particularly immunology, latest developments anti-viral and anti-microbial agents and how it all works I couldn't help giving some introspect to what must be a very complex ecosystem permeating the fabric of the said backpack.

Assuming most of us don't tend to subject our bags, backpacks or suitcases to washing, at least as regularly as clothes, my conclusion is that a lot of those lifeforms, including all sorts of pathogens, including non-endemic ones, especially if you're a frequent traveler — does anyone have an idea whether there are potential health risks involved with being in constant contact with tools and bags that carry them...

For instance, I rarely wash hands before meals (unless it involves the use of bare hands to put food in my mouth) and I always walk barefoot around the house, where guests as well as myself sometimes walk around in my outside shoes as well.

I've been getting recurrent flares of Helicobacter Pylori induced gastritis and stomach ulcers, and I'm wondering whether there is more making its way inside our bodies from what could be an overly laid back approach to personal hygiene given the above...

Advance apologies for not being more concise in asking the question — but at least there's no FA to read ;) What's your take and thanks!

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It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln