What you need to know about E. coli

People are obsessed with food and hygiene especially given the number of cases related to food poisoning. I know that I am, so I always try to eat only clean fruits and vegetables, wash my hands before each meal, and drink bottled water.

Since most of us like eating out, I’ve thought I share with you some interesting stuff about E.coli such as what causes this infection, its symptoms, and ways to cure the disease.

You’ve probably weren’t aware of, but people and animal normally have some of this bacteria located in their intestines. There are ways for E.coli to enter your body and one of them is related to improper food handling.

No matter where the food is prepared, may it be at home, in a fast food place or in a restaurant, if you handle it without washing your hands completely you risk spreading the bacteria. Moreover, using utensils, cutting boards, or serving the food in dishes that haven’t been washed are responsible for cross-contamination.

If you leave the food on the table, especially cooked foods, and you consume them without been stored in the fridge, you are prone to getting the disease. The whole point is to eat fresh food that has been washed, cooked at higher temperatures, and stored in a cool and dry place. If you stick to this principles, E.coli won’t get near you.

 

Apart from this, during the slaughtering process, meat can get infected with this bacteria straight from the animal’s intestines. This is why always make sure to wash the meat and cook it at a higher level of temperature that kills any bacteria whatsoever.

Another possible source of infection is the contaminated water or even water located in swimming pools. Since E.coli can be easily spread from person to person if they don’t wash their hands. Therefore, places such as schools and nursing homes are ideal for spreading this bacteria.

Among the symptoms caused by this intestinal infection, I have to mention abdominal cramping, severe diarrhea, gases, vomiting, fatigue, and fever. These usually last around 5 to 10 days and debut around 1 to 10 days after being exposed to E.coli.

 

In some situations, according to the severity of the case, there might be signs of blood in the urine, a pale skin, bruises, and major dehydration.

Not all people get the same reaction when their body starts to fight this infection. Some risk factors that can worsen the situation are age, a weakened immune system, type of foods, and the low level of stomach acids.

If you start noticing any of these symptoms, you must seek a doctor because there are ways to treat the E. coli infection. Besides drinking plenty of water, you must rest and eat only foods recommended by a medical specialist. You shouldn’t get antidiarrheal medication unless your doctor recommends to.

 

 

My favorite books on evolution

Evolutionary anthropology has been the subject of endless debates for many years now. Everyone’s heard of Charles Darwin at some point in their lives. I still find it difficult to believe that some people are convinced, even in this day and age, that humans are in no way related to other primates.

However, this situation might be less surprising considering that some individuals like to think that the earth is flat and that we’re all living in a lie. I was never a big fan of conspiracy theories, although some coincidences are bizarre.

To get to the topic of my blog post, I am going to recommend you some books on evolution that I have enjoyed reading. The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, is one of the most critically acclaimed studies in this sense. Dawkins has long been considered a revolutionary biologist, and that’s because his books tackle many matters other than evolution. To some extent, many of his works are philosophical. Another great read by the same author is The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against creationists and people who abide by all the rules of the Bible. Nevertheless, I would like to propose an idea to all those who say that the world was created in six days and on the seventh, God took a well-deserved break. What if we thought of those days as geological eras? I believe that this theory is easier to digest, particularly by those who seem to have something against the idea that our ancestors were related to apes.

If you prefer a shorter read, and chances are that you do, given that the other two books I have mentioned are well over 400 pages long, perhaps you should try Why Evolution Is True, by Jerry A. Coyne. To put it simply, this book has helped me understand that our reality is a fact and that we should embrace the idea of evolution without any restraints.

The Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond, is another critically acclaimed nonfiction read. It tells us that 98% of our genome is shared with chimpanzees. One of the problems that people who deny evolution have to deal with is the truth that we are still evolving. Perhaps this fact is easier to deny since we cannot notice it per se, but there are many diseases and germs who leave their mark on our genes, whether we like it or not.

Why is it that some people are better at recovering from an ailment while others spend weeks in bed and need medicine in order to cope with its symptoms? Many studies have shown that even we, as humans, are different amongst ourselves and that some are fitter than others, especially in terms of survival.

Anyone can learn how to use a microscope

 

 

It is my solid conviction that science is not hard and that many people would be interested in finding out more if they were just well familiarized with terms and how different equipment works in the process of scientific experiments. A microscope, for instance, should not be seen as a complicated device.

Anyone can learn how to use a microscope. At first glance, things may look complicated, but I am here to prove you otherwise. This website has more information that I can offer you in this short blog post, and I want to recommend it to you. But now, let’s learn a few things together and discover what makes working with a microscope such a fascinating activity.

A few things about the main components should be learned first. The platform on which the specimen sits on slides for easy viewing is called the stage, just like in a theater. The only thing that differs is that you won’t watch actors enacting a play, but different specimens used for scientific experiments.

The arm is the part that makes the connection between the base and the piece you are looking through. The focus knobs are useful for bringing the specimen closer and have the image become clearer. Next, you have the objective whose primary role is to magnify the picture. Use the diaphragm for adjusting the amount of light you need.

One of the important things to keep in mind is to place the microscope on a flat surface, so you don’t feel cramped when working. The light source is the first thing you need to switch on. When you start the compound microscope for the first time, make sure that the diaphragm is adjusted for the largest diameter possible, to let plenty of light in.

A scan is usually performed at the lowest power, as it provides plenty of field of view. After that, you can proceed at watching your specimen. The slide must be carefully operated so that the sample ends up exactly under the lens. If you encounter troubles, the best way to achieve the results you want is slightly turning the control knobs.

Make sure that your specimen is in focus. Also, lighting is important, so fiddling with the control for a while longer will help you see better through the microscope. Now you can move the nosepiece to reach the highest magnification and power.

At any stage, remember that you can adjust the focus and the light. This helps you see better everything you need, related to the specimen. After all, this is what microscopes are made for, and they are tools to be used.