Health Advice



Down in Smoke

Scott LaFee on

Medical Myths

The average used toothbrush may be home to as many as 1.2 million bacteria, viruses and fungi. Though it's possible for a germy brush to cause illness, it's not likely if your immune system is working well. Still, these hygiene tips can reduce the risk of infection:

-- Wash your hands before and after brushing.

-- Change your toothbrush every three months or whenever you have a cold or the flu.

-- Alternate between two brushes to ensure they dry out completely between uses.

-- Don't share brushes.

-- Rinse your brush thoroughly after use with hot water.


-- Don't store your brush near the toilet, and close the lid before flushing. Airborne pathogens churned up and out by a flushed toilet can travel more than five feet from the toilet and, perhaps, fall upon your toothbrush.

Curtain Calls

Roy Sullivan served as a park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Between 1942 and 1977, he reported being struck by lightning on seven different occasions, surviving them all. He holds the Guinness World Record, and two of his hats are on display in Guinness museums in New York City and South Carolina. He died in 1983 at the age of 72 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, reportedly over a failed romance.


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