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Healthline

You might want to reconsider that fast-food order if you have trouble digesting wheat or milk products.

By wire services
Published February 28, 2006


YOU MIGHT WANT to reconsider that fast-food order if you have trouble digesting wheat or milk products. McDonald's, which used to describe its french fries as safe for people with allergies, announced that the fries actually contain "wheat and milk ingredients'' that could produce an allergic reaction. The recipe is still the same, the company said, but the allergy statement was revised to conform to new federal food labeling guidelines. A company spokesman said wheat and dairy extracts in the fries are processed to remove proteins generally responsible for allergic reactions.

A TEASPOON OF typical tap water has about 138 bacteria. A teaspoon of typical hot tub water has about 2.17-million. That's only one of the unsettling findings by a team of Texas A&M researchers. Of the 43 public and private tubs tested, 95 percent showed the presence of fecal bacteria; 81 percent had fungi; and 34 percent contained staphylococcus, which can cause deadly infections. The researchers said the lining of whirlpool pipes was where the nastiest stuff grew; when the jets are turned on, it's blown into the tub. Typical cleaning provided little protection.

HOME PAPER SHREDDERS pose serious injury risk to toddlers, according to a recent investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency found that half of the injuries studied involved children younger than 3, and more than 70 percent involved children younger than 12. Four kids, aged 2 to 6, needed amputations after mishaps with shredders.

A FEW WORDS about eczema. Eczema is a chronic skin condition caused by an irregularity in the immune system cells of your skin. People with eczema have microscopic breaks in the protective skin layers that allow their skin to lose water more rapidly and become dry. The breaks also allow irritating substances to get in and cause more itching or burning. Symptoms of eczema include red, flaky rashes that usually itch or sting. Symptoms are made worse by sweating and exposure to irritating fabrics, chemicals, detergents or fragrances. It is common for people with eczema to have allergies to foods or plants. Allergy testing and allergy shots are sometimes helpful.

THE NUMBERS GAME

48: Number by which U.S. male births exceed female births per thousand.

5.7: In millions, the number by which male births have exceeded female births since 1940.

39: Age at which the number of females in the U.S. population surpasses the number of males.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics and Times wires

[Last modified February 28, 2006, 12:55:03]


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