By Kylie McCarthy, Nutritionist
I wouldn’t describe myself as a germ phob- although perhaps you can be the judge of that. I’d like to think you may join me in my germ “awareness” shall we call it, after a little further reading.
So I’m out in public and I have GOT to go! After a short internal scream at the realization of what I have to do next, I make my way toward the public toilet. A small kick to the bottom of the toilet door opens her up, and there she be- home to a millennia of bacteria. Hepatitis A can pop in for a visit, in fact a host of viruses- even the common cold doesn’t mind snuggling up alongside Streptococcus and lil ole staphylococcus on your every day public toilet seat! With germs so thick in my presence, for some reason think I have more chance of making it out alive if I lengthen and extend my chin downward (with terror in my eyes) in a private facial acknowledgement to the olfactory mine field I am in.
I’m aware of the faeces from the previous user that can be propelled- yes propelled, into the air when the toilet is flushed, enabling microscopic airborne mist from it landing ON MY FACE- eeeeek. And with that thought in mind- I know I’m in the thick of it!
A quick whisk of 3 or 4 squares off the cardboard most often supplied as toilet paper will protect my fingers from the disrepute that lies on the back of the door handle. Shutting the door behind me, I place that paper on top of the cistern in anticipation of the button flush to come! Hovering over the seat of doom, I give my quads a workout that only a full bladder can give. Upon exit I grab my 3-4 squares I prepared up there on the cistern earlier, open the door- paper still gripped between my thumb and 2 finger tips, I turn the tap on- wash, grab my trusty paper- strategically, turn the tap off- and I’m out! Breathe! Well that’s me and I am not about to stop my ritual any time soon!
And for the record- in regards to those airborne faeces mentioned earlier- shyeah, let’s not forget about that! The Mt. Sinai Medical Center, advises leaving the cubicle immediately after flushing to keep the microscopic, airborne mist from choosing you as its landing site. The greatest aerosol dispersal occurs not during the initial moments of the flush, but rather once most of the water has already left the bowl.
Another act of every day occurrence- however one that is not regarded as GROSS by a lot of people, are pets in your bed. Ok ok- I get it, I love animals, however my love for the four legged souls is not going to see those lawn prowling paws in my boudoir! Dogs and cats walk their cute furry little paws god knows where, over god knows what in your back yard and up the street- and let’s face it, some dogs love nothing more than to literally roll in their cute fluffy coats into a fellow k9’s poo!
Now I’m not sure about you, but after I came back from South America with a tape worm about 40cm long inside me- yeeeeeeeeeeeees, I said it, I am now reeeeeally aware of just how easy it is to have these suckers- literally, hanging off the inside of us. Another interesting fact- there is normally around 4-5 kilos of bacteria, parasites and fungae living inside us- 4 TO 5 KILOS I say!!! Essentially we are living hosts for these organisms to thrive. You want to make sure you have the healthy good bacteria and micro flora living it up in your guts and not the parasitic opportunistic nasties!
Enter the tape worm! (Hopefully not literally)
The life cycle of the tapeworm alternates between herbivores and carnivores—(typically sheep, foxes and dogs). Humans are an accidental intermediate host and become an end point in the tapeworm’s lifecycle. Here is why pets are a no go in my bed- no matter how fluffy!
A sheep will ingest the eggs which hatch in the sheep’s intestine and then travel to the liver where what is called a hydatid cyst develops. When a dog eats the sheep’s organs containing the hydatid cyst, the dog becomes infected and passes eggs out in their faeces. Cows and sheep become infected by eating the grass contaminated by dog faeces. You bite into your steak and possible infestation will occur. This is obviously a big issue if you are from rural areas of Australia, however even in the city- you need to be cautious of where your meat is coming from, a lot of us city slickers like a rare steak also- that is another risk to be aware of, so be sure to purchase from reputable butchers. Tape worm can also be found in fish- so you sushi loving folk need to be wary of the health and safety standards out the back of your local sushi train!
Other animals that may be infected include pigs, cattle, goats, horses, camels, wombats, wallabies and kangaroos. The grazing animal eats dog, fox or dingo faeces infected with tapeworm eggs. Eventually the animal’s organs (such as the liver, brain or lungs) grow watery sacs called hydatid cysts. These cysts contain tapeworm heads and a mature cyst may contain several million such heads. Share a bed with your family pet and those tapeworms that are more than likely worming their way out of Fido’s behind, will soon find their way into you- eeeew!
If you would like any more info on Hydatid cysts, tapeworms or any other bacterial and parasitic infection – Dr Cabot has detailed info on her Liver Doctor website
If you want optimal gut health, a good liver and bowl detox annually- if not bi annually, is recommended. There are also steps you can take in your day to day life that will ensure your bowel is as clean as possible- reducing your risk of contamination and keeping the micro flora in your gastro intestinal system working in your favour.
If you would like assistance with detoxification- not only of the gut and liver, but total body detox, please contact Kylie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kylie McCarthy -Nutritionist
For appointments with Kylie please phone 02 4655 4666 or email email@example.com
I was about to get some lunch! Arrrrgh!