Feeling Tired and Groggy? This 0-Calorie Drink Could Help!

If you often find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open during the day, it could mean you’re dehydrated, according to a recent study. And while you might be tempted to pour yourself another cup of coffee, drinking a glass of water might be the best and fastest way to perk yourself up.

Researchers at Penn State University (PSU) recently looked at the effects of inadequate sleep on hydration, surveying over 20,000 adults in the U.S. and China. The team collected urine samples from each of the participants to determine their hydration levels and had the volunteers answer questions about their sleeping habits.

They found that those who slept for just 6 hours a night had “significantly more concentrated urine” compared to those who got the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Sleep-deprived participants were 16% to 59% more likely to be dehydrated than their well-rested counterparts.

The mechanism behind this is a hormone called vasopressin, which controls hydration levels in the body. It’s released both at night while you sleep and during the day. How much sleep you get at night can have a big impact on how much vasopressin your body releases.

Read: Studies Find That Drinking Water Leads to Weight Loss, Mental Boost

Study author Asher Rosinger, an assistant professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, explained: [2]

“Vasopressin is released both more quickly and later on in the sleep cycle. So, if you’re waking up earlier, you might miss that window in which more of the hormone is released, causing a disruption in the body’s hydration.”

He concluded:

“If you are only getting 6 hours of sleep a night, it can affect your hydration status. This study suggests that if you’re not getting enough sleep, and you feel bad or tired the next day, drink extra water.”

Dehydration may be more Harmful than You Think!

Dehydration can negatively affect your cognitive abilities. A study published earlier in 2018 showed that even minor dehydration can impair your attention span, coordination, and more. [1]

Study co-author Mindy Millard-Stafford said:

“The key finding was that dehydration impaired cognitive performance. Specifically, we found tasks involving executive function (complex thinking, applying logic, etc.), attention, and motor coordination appear to be more impaired.”

Read: Even Slight Dehydration Impacts Brain Function, Mood, and Energy

In fact, a study published in 2015 found that driving while dehydrated is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

So, if you feel the tell-tale signs of being tired – lack of energy, hunger, and poor concentration – drink some water instead of eating a sugary snack to feel better. Although coffee has a mild diuretic effect, it is not believed to contribute to dehydration. But you can chug a cup of cold water and get the desired effects a lot faster than you would by sipping a hot cup of coffee.

Sources:

[1] Bustle

[2] BodyAndSoul

Diarrhea-Inducing Parasite in Public Pools: How to Protect Yourself

People pee in swimming pools – that probably doesn’t come as a shock to you. You tuck it in the back of your mind when you go swimming; but you when you accidentally swallow a mouthful of pool water, you know you’re getting more than H2O and chlorine. Well, there’s another threat lurking in public swimming pools. It’s a diarrhea-inducing parasite called cryptosporidium, and federal officials said back in May that cases of the bug are on the rise.

Source: CDC

Outbreaks of cryptosporidium (Crypto) doubled between 2014 and 2016, including three that occurred last year, according to the CDC. There were at least 32 outbreaks in 2016, compared to 16 outbreaks in 2014, and 13 the year before. [1]

In a statement, the agency said:

“The parasite can spread when people swallow something that has come into contact with the feces (poop) of a sick person, such as pool water contaminated with diarrhea.” [1]

Suddenly Netflix and A/C sound very inviting.

The CDC added:

“Crypto is the most common cause of diarrheal illness and outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds because it is not easily killed by chlorine and can survive up to 10 days in properly treated water.

Swallowing just a mouthful of water contaminated with Crypto can make otherwise healthy people sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration.” [1]

Read: Watch Out: Thousands of Pools Close Due to Health Violations

Don’t rely on chlorine to clean up the poop: Even proper chlorination doesn’t kill Crypto. [2]

The most heavily-affected state was Ohio, with 1,940 people being sickened by the parasite in 2016, compared to less than 600 in any previous year.

It’s not clear why Crypto cases are on the rise. The CDC said:

“It is not clear whether the number of outbreaks has increased or whether better surveillance and laboratory methods are leading to better outbreak detection.”[2]

The agency wrote that the youngest swimmers are the most likely to infect pools with Crypto.

“Young swimmers aged under 5 years are more likely to contaminate the water because they are more likely to have inadequate toileting and hygiene skills; therefore, prevention efforts should focus on their parents.” [1]

Source: Nature

Regardless of age, many people continue swimming even when they’re symptomatic.

Once a pool has been infected, Crypto spreads easily and is stubborn against efforts to eradicate it. In chlorinated water, Crypto can survive for up to 10 days, and it only takes a small gulp of water to become infected. The only way to rid a swimming pool of the parasite is to close the pool and treat it with extremely high, extremely toxic levels of chlorine. [2], [3]

Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, said in a statement:

“To help protect your family and friends from Crypto and other diarrhea-causing germs, do not swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. Protect yourself from getting sick by not swallowing the water in which you swim.” [3]

(Hopefully, if you’re an adult, this goes without saying.)

The CDC also offered these tips for staying Crypto-free this summer:

  • If diarrhea is found to be caused by Crypto, wait 2 weeks after symptoms have subsided before going swimming.
  • Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the pool.
  • Take children on frequent bathroom breaks, and check diapers in a diaper-changing area, not right next to the pool.

Sources:

[1] NBC News

[2] The Washington Post

[3] CBS News

CDC

Nature


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Sandbox Sickness: Diarrhea-Causing Bacteria Found on Playgrounds

A small study by researchers in Spain finds that dangerous germs are lurking on playgrounds. [1]

For the study, a team of scientists tested sandboxes and searched for Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. They found it alright, and it was the drug-resistant variety.

C. diff is usually considered a hospital-acquired infection; but the rates of infection outside of hospitals are increasing, the authors of the study write.

One possible source of C. diff exposure is sandboxes, the researchers found. The bacterium may wind up there from the feces of humans and other animals. (Cats + sand = litter box.) The bug can survive for weeks or months outside of the body.

C. diff in sandboxes is especially dangerous for young children, the primary group at risk of catching the bug from playgrounds. Why? Because kids have high rates of geophagia. In other words, they eat sand and dirt.

Studying the Nitty-Gritty of C. Diff in Sandboxes

For the study, researchers tested sand from 40 sandboxes in public parks in Madrid, Spain, including 20 that were designated for children and 20 that were for dogs. C. diff was found in 9 of the sandboxes intended for kids, and 12 of the sandboxes intended for dogs.

An analysis of the different C. diff strains revealed that 2 of the samples from the kids’ sandboxes and 6 samples from the dogs’ sandboxes had “toxigenic” strains, meaning that they produced toxins. These toxins can lead to a damaged colon lining and diarrhea. Some strains of C. diff produce more toxins than others.

Every sample that the researchers tested was resistant to at least 2 antibiotics, making the infection more difficult to treat.

Read: Dutch “Poop Bank” Will Offer Treatment, Research of C. Diff as Antibiotics Fail

The researchers wrote that because of the risks posed by C. diff, tests for the bacterium should be included in future environmental-risk assessments.

Lead researcher Dr. Jose Blanco, from the Department of Animal Health at Complutense University of Madrid, said:

“This study shows the wide distribution of [these] bacteria in the environment, and the need for more studies to elucidate its presence in our communities.” [2]

Past studies in the U.S. have found other pathogens in sandboxes, including Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause flu-like symptoms, and parasitic Ascaris (nematode worm) eggs that can cause abdominal discomfort.

If you’re not totally disgusted yet, this should do it: Different types of roundworms have been found in playgrounds. Baylisascaris procyonis, spread by raccoons, can cause neurological damage and death. Thankfully, it’s extremely rare. Then there’s Toxocara roundworms – these stomach-turning creatures cause about 70 cases of blindness in U.S. children each year.

About Clostridium Difficile

Source: Medical News Today

C. diff infection can be hard to treat. The bacteria cause an intestinal infection that can lead to severe diarrhea which, in turn, can lead to dangerous dehydration. The symptoms of mild to moderate C. diff infection typically include:

  • Watery diarrhea 3 or more times a day
  • Mild abdominal cramping and tenderness [3]

Serious infections can cause:

  • Watery diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day
  • Abdominal cramping and pain, which may be severe
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
  • Blood or pus in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Kidney failure
  • Increased white blood cell count [3]

Severe complications can arise from C. diff infection, including:

  • Toxic megacolon, a condition in which the colon is unable to expel gas and stool, causing it to become greatly distended (megacolon). If not treated in time, the colon can rupture, causing bacteria from the colon to enter the abdominal cavity, requiring emergency surgery. Toxic megacolon is sometimes fatal.
  • Bowel perforation, a rare condition caused by extensive damage to the lining of the large intestine or after toxic megacolon.
  • Death [3]

A single course of antibiotics can cause C. diff. infection.

How to Prevent C. Diff Infection

To help prevent your little ones from getting sick from sandboxes, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • Keeping sandboxes covered when not in use to keep insects and animals out.
  • Letting sand dry before covering the sandbox, as wet sand is an ideal place for bacteria to grow.
  • Raking the sand regularly to remove debris, clumps, and other foreign material.
  • Not allowing pets to play in the sandbox… for the obvious reasons. [2]

Sources:

[1] Live Science

[2] CBS News

[3] Mayo Clinic

Medical News Today


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