Wednesday, February 5, 2020

E Coli risk and the inherent health risks we face today including Coronavirus

I am a salad lover.  Up until last week I would always choose a salad over a sandwich or other appetizer when eating out.   I recently read an article about E Coli risks and have thus been researching this subject since there have been multiple outbreaks.  From what I have learned I thought it important to share my data.

We hear the touts of deregulation helping our economy and how the economy is booming.  Just listen to the SOTU last night as an example but in realty there are many ways that deregulation is creating increased day to day risks for our well being.  I am not here to talk policy but just to highlight a few health concerns that should alarm all of us.

Periodically there have been recent E Coli outbreaks.  Some can cause irreversible health issues and even kidney failure or death.  The risk can be quite dangerous.  One common thread in some of the literature I have read is that due to deregulation there are less inspectors to insure higher safety precautions before lettuce is brought to market.  As illustrated in a photo below there are three points where contamination can occur in the process of growing lettuce to its delivery to the consumer.  This may also be true in other products but I am focusing on lettuce here.  As a consumer it is up to each of us to be educated on what we eat,  what we consume and how to be our own advocates.   It is becoming increasing clear that each person is out for himself.   It is important to wash and if possible cook produce to kill any infectants.   A few articles below site the cause of these breakouts, how to prevent them and how to mitigate exposure.

-Don't eat romaine lettuce - a warning in a December article during an E Coli breakout is here

-An explanation of the role in deregulation in causing E Coli outbreaks is here

-Methods to mitigate ones risk in today's Boston Globe is here

-Untimely communication of potential risk by CDC and FDA increased our risk click here

As for other health concerns such as coronavirus,  I have heard mixed reviews about wearing masks to limit exposure.  One health professional today said the risks to the American public warrant the same procedures one would take with a flu outbreak.  If you saw the movie Contagion a few years ago you will understand why I am writing this blog post.  If you have hypercondriac tendencies like I do you may not want to watch it.  I keep having images echoing in my head that these outbreaks occur and the public not being adequately informed before becoming pandemic.

update 2/6 Attached is an up-to-date link to a map of the Coronovirus outbreak from today's NYT.

There are many health risks we can not avoid and some where we can use common sense to mitigate danger.  My advice is to be your own advocate, wash your hands frequently and if in places where you feel there are major crowds perhaps wearing a mask is a good idea.  I still love salads and wish I could order these whenever I go out to eat.  I will now, however,  only consume cooked vegetables when available if I am not absolutely sure of the sourcing.  I hope this can change in the future.  Lets all work together to stay healthy and minimize public risk.

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys helping people and writing her blog to share perspectives on how to make the world a better place.

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