DR. WALLACE: We are a family of four children with a father and mother (me). A while back, you had a column about saving money by buying soap. Is it possible that you could give me the details? We are always struggling to "stay afloat" financially. — Mom, Tupelo, Mississippi
MOM: A medical doctor sent the following information on preventing infections by using a few cents' worth of soap. I hope this will help you save money and have a healthier family.
DR. WALLACE: I appreciate the fact that you encourage teens to wash their hands often to avoid the spread of germs. It's true that the easiest way to avoid infection (including colds) is hand washing. A little soap and water can often prevent what takes loads of time and money to cure. Thorough hand washing isn't simple. Please allow me to present the best way to wash one's hands, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter:
"You must apply soap or detergent to your hands and rub vigorously for at least 10 seconds to suspend the germs. Then rinse them away. Water temperature isn't essential. Water warm enough (110 degrees Fahrenheit) to cut through grease is best. Water hot enough to kill germs would harm your skin. Germs tend to accumulate around cuticles, beneath your fingernails and in the creases of your hands, so concentrate on these areas. Rinse all soap from your hands to remove as many germs as possible. It is virtually impossible to keep hands germ-free, but there are times when it is critical to wash your hands.
1. Before you handle or eat food
2. After you visit the bathroom
3. After handling uncooked food (especially all types of meat)
4. After handling money (if you are fortunate enough to have any)
5. After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing into your hand
6. After playing with a pet
7. After handling garbage"
Americans annually spend more than $20 billion to fight infections that could be prevented by a few cents' worth of soap! — Marvin Stross, New York
A HIP DIET WOULD SUIT ME BEST
DR. WALLACE: I want to lose weight on only one part of my body (hips). Is this possible? The rest of me is in pretty good shape. A hip (ha-ha) diet would suit me best. — Nameless, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
NAMELESS: If a dietician could come up with an effective hip reduction diet, millions of people worldwide would praise his or her name. When losing weight on a diet, the excess weight (fat) is eliminated proportionately from all parts of the body. P.S.: I enjoyed your humor!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.