Deadly Staph – Tips for the Prevention of Staph Infections

Over the past few years some dangerous Staph bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. Only recently has the news media focused on this serious new health problem, which is of urgent concern to our schools. These killer bacteria, called methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or “MRSA”, have recently caused panic in schools in the USA. Some infected students have become seriously ill and some have died after these antibiotic resistant bacteria invaded their blood stream. Most Staph bacteria only causes minor skin infections and are treated with antibiotics. Serious and deadly infections however, develop when antibiotic resistant bacteria (MRSA) is involved. The best methods for prevention of all types of Staph infections involve general cleaning strategies which can be incorporated into the routine cleaning practices at all schools. Here are some tips for limiting the possibility of Staph bacteria infecting your students:

1.) Establish a daily and routine environmental cleaning schedule for your school restrooms and dining areas. The cleaning staff should be trained and monitored to be sure they understand and practice thorough and effective cleaning procedures. Your local health department can provide advice on procedures.

2.) Use germicidal products or a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 9 part water to clean any surface that is subject to frequent touching by students, including light switches, doorknobs, faucet handles, hand rails and all restroom fixtures. Use soap and water at a minimum, preferably an all-purpose cleaner, for a daily cleaning of all other floors and surfaces.

3.) Install automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand dryers and automatic paper towel dispensers. These touch-free automatic dispensers will reduce student’s exposure to appliances that are frequently the source of hand transmitted bacteria. like Staph. If your school still utilizes the old manual hands-on dispensers it will be nearly impossible to clean them frequently enough to eliminate the spread of bacteria.

4.) Immediately clean up any surface that has a visible body fluid contamination such as blood, urine or other body fluid.

5.) Make sure automatic soap dispensers and automatic paper towel dispensers are filled with product at all times. This should be part of the cleaning personnel daily routine. Refill the dispensers daily.

6.) Encourage good hygiene. Students should be cautioned against sharing water bottles and personal items, encourages to shower after gym classes and other physical activities.

7.) Require that students cover cuts, abrasions and lesions with a proper dressing (bandage) until healed. Athletics staff should monitor this closely among their athletes.

8.) Clean all items used in athletic activities with an all-purpose cleaner and wash uniforms after each use.

9.) Publish, articulate and post reminders to staff and employees the importance of frequent hand washing with soap and water or the use of germicidal hand gels. Your schools restrooms and cafeteria should have warning signs posted in highly visible areas reminding everyone that hand washing is a requirement of your facility and is everyone’s responsibility.

Following these simple cleaning routines will greatly reduce you schools risk of bacterial infections of all types, including Staph and viruses, such as the flu, and the common cold.

Packeteer PacketShaper

Wide-area networking and the Internet are becoming more and more reliable, to support strategic objectives. This has restructured the way businesses work, and even in some cases stay afloat. Today companies are faced with more applications, more users, and more desktop power, but with less visibility, control, and predictability. With unprecedented network demands and without the ability to control how they effect your business. PacketShaper can assist you in controlling and enhancing the performance of your WAN. PacketShaper continues providing visibility and control across your WAN, to enhance the application monitoring and performance for any user, in any location, throughout networks of enterprises spread around. Depending on the speed of the network links it will manage, this device comes in a wide range of levels to suit. The lowest entry level box is for a 128k line with the high-end box being able to monitor and manage a 1 Gigabit link.

The PacketShaper traffic shaping technology enables the administrator to resolve WAN and Internet performance problems that effect networks. By actively preventing network congestion, shaping controls application performance and bandwidth consumption. Administrators can achieve more important tasks in lesser time, with fewer performance-related complaints and a higher Quality of Service (QoS) for all networked users. With PacketShaper, the never-ending cycle of bandwidth upgrades is a thing of the past. PacketShaper optimizes application throughput throughout your current network infrastructure.

PacketShaper is simple to configure and comes with basic step-by-step instructions comprising such things as passwords, IP addresses and connection speeds etc. Initial physical installation is extremely easy, and once the PacketShaper is on the network it can accessed through a web browser and can be configured on of two ways: by a normal http connection or a secure http connection.

Internal attacks from worm infections, unauthorized recreational traffic and rogue servers can severely impact network capacity and bring down critical applications but PacketShaper assists in recognising when PCs are infected or unauthorized traffic is passing through the network, and also protects the performance of crucial applications. PacketShaper alsoprotects the performance of the network during attack-all while providing hard ROI from bandwidth savings, enhanced WAN capabilities and accelerated application performance. An additional effective function of the PacketShaper is its graphing abilities. It is simple to locate older data from the ‘straight out of the box’ system. Clear and simplified graphs are presented in the form of either line graphs or pie charts, though it is possible for this data to be shown as raw data if required, which makes it easy to export it to other programs. Installation of IP Telephony (IPT) and Voice/Video over IP (VoIP) vary from company to company and its employees, effecting every network in a different way. A successful implementation depends on guaranteed bandwidth and QoS, and also fitting more calls onto a restricted WAN resource.

PacketShaper efficiently controls vital IPT protocols, providing WAN capacity and true QoS functionality to guarantee the highest quality end-to-end communication for each call. It makes sense to unite servers from remote sites to centralized data centers, although the additional traffic loads call for precise classification, monitoring and shaping before any advantages can be appreciated. PacketShaper detects and controls common traffic-including CIFS, VoIP, CRM, Web and P2P-while also tracking Microsoft’s underlying CIFS changes in R2. MPLS and IP VPNs are beneficial for relating distributed locations, but advantages cannot be noticed if applications are oversubscribed, traffic stalls in bottlenecks and critical applications are inappropriately designated to best-effort classes. PacketShaper carries on the MPLS promise, weighing up performance, detecting and marking application traffic with special handling requirements so traffic can move freely to the enterprise edge. This system is integrated in a single appliance with multiple software choices that deliver:

  • Control over application performance and network utilization.
  • Visibility into application performance and network utilization.
  • Compression to accelerate performance and increase WAN capacity.
  • Centralized management of performance analysis, reporting, and policy administration for large Packeteer deployments.

The Packeteer PacketShaper is an architected bandwidth management device that is incredibly useful and at the same time simple . It delivers an easy and user friendly interface that can be advantageous to any organisation from low-end, to expert users. With minimal configuration, PacketShaper will become a crucial tool in keeping the network secure and also managing bandwidth.

Japan’s Big Three’s Models Named Best Deals

Car buyers are always in the lookout for the car offering the best value for their money. Different firms have been guiding prospective car buyers on how to choose the vehicle the suits their needs best. From performance to fuel economy to safety, all bases should be covered in choosing a vehicle.

IntelliChoice, one of the leading sources of pertinent information to car buyers, recently announced their “Best Deals” list. The list contains what the online outfit thinks is the best vehicle in different classes. For the month of April, IntelliChoice announced their “Best Deals” and this has been done coinciding with the ongoing New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) in the Big Apple.

This month’s list includes several models from Japan’s three biggest car manufacturers. These vehicles are seen as the measuring stick for future production vehicles unveiled and showcased at the New York Auto Show. James Bell, the publisher of IntelliChoice.com, has this to say with regards to the list and the vehicles showcased at the event: “Even more than recent auto shows, the New York show offered a look at some very compelling future competition to many of the mainstays on our monthly ‘Best Deals’ list.”

The Honda Civic hybrid is rated as the best deal for the Compact Car over $16,000 class by IntelliChoice.com. For the Compact Car under $16,000 class, the best deal is touted to be the Honda Civic DX with an automatic transmission.

Aside from these two models, another Honda produced vehicle was named as a best deal in its class – the Honda Civic Si. The said model is named as the best deal in the Base Sport Car class. The Honda Odyssey is once again named as the best deal for the Minivan class. The Honda Odyssey has been dominating that class in recent history but will face strong competition in the form of the Ford Flex recently unveiled at the New York International Auto Show.

A Nissan model is also named as one of the best deals for the month of April. The Nissan Frontier King Cab XE 2WD with a manual transmission is named as the best deal for the Compact Pickup Truck 2WD class. The King Cab is the first crew cab body style compact pickup truck in North America and since its inception in the U.S. auto market has been popular among car buyers. With its trademark dependability, the Nissan Frontier is not a surprise choice as the best deal for its class. Its high performance construction and components such as the Nissan spark plug wires are one of the reasons why the Frontier sits at the top of its class.

Toyota, the surging Japanese car manufacturer, also landed several of its models at the “Best Deals” list. The popular Toyota Prius is named as the best deal for the Midsize Car under $21,000 while the Prius Touring is named as the best deal for the Midsize Car over $21,000 class.

For the Large Car class, IntelliChoice picked the Toyota Avalon Touring as the best deal for consumers. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid with a third row seating and 2WD configuration is named as the best deal for the Midsize Crossover class. The Toyota Matrix Standard with manual transmission is also named as the best deal for the Small Wagon class.

For the Compact Pickup Truck 4WD class, IntelliChoice picked the Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab 4WD as the best deal. The Toyota Tundra Regular Cab V6 2WD Short Bed is named as the best deal for the Full-Size Pickup Truck 2WD 1/2 Ton class.

Using Serialization

A common problem in programming is moving the program data to another spot, such as a file on disk or another computer. For example, suppose a video game needs to store a saved file on the hard drive. Normally, the developer would have to write a method that takes all the game information and puts it into a format that can be placed on disk. Another method needs to be written to reverse this. The concept of serialization, used in some programming languages, bypasses this.

If a language has serialization libraries, this means that these functions are built in. You can input an object and have built-in language libraries convert the object to data. And of course, you can do the reverse. Instead of having to write code and create your own format for storing program information, you can just have the language do it. This has a wide variety of uses besides the video game save file mentioned in the intro. Suppose you want any program to store user-inputted data. You can simply put that data into a serializable object, that write it to disk. When the program starts up again, use the deserialization methods.

This can also be used for network communications. Consider the problem of writing client and server programs that can communicate with each other. Instead of having to process data, you can just serialize the object and transmit its data over the network. As long as the client and server know what class is being used, this works.

However, not all programming languages can be serialized. Generally, this is only a feature of higher-level languages. .NET has it with the Serializable attribute for a class. For Java, the java.io.Serializable interface is used. Classes that implement this interface can be serialized. Even low-level languages such as C++ have the ability, albeit not in the standard library. The popular Boost C++ library has functions that provide the serialization ability.

However, there are also problems caused by serialization. Many languages do not have backwards compatibility. So if you write a new version of the program and try to use it with existing serialized data, it can fail. Fortunately, some languages do have backwards compatibility features that avoid this drawback.

Serialization is a useful tool that all programmers should know about. It provides an easy way to store program data permanently and transmit it between multiple computers. For languages where serialization libraries are built-in, this is generally very easy.

Porn Addiction May Deplete You From Life

Masturbation and explicit entertainment addiction are mutually related, and most addicts of both these habits don’t know where masturbation dependence comes to a close and smut enslavement starts. Numerous addicts get no delight from smut alone. The porn pictures fortify masturbation, and after that, masturbation gives the quite undeniable high that causes the fixation; and thus it goes round and around.

The sorts of pornography that addicts use as their resources to jerk off are various and range from standard photos and scenes to hentai drawings, animated cartoons to webcams and shooting themselves doing sexual acts and afterward stroking off to it. The quantity of genital climaxes of both genders changes per session. A few addicts can climax up to 15 times each day or more – consistently – relying upon how raised they are in their addiction.

Porn dependent youths in High School regularly need to go to the washroom to stroke off amid classes when compelled by urgent and over-the-top porn contemplations which actually command their brains. Like porn addicts of all ages, recollected pictures and recordings divert them from everything else. However, the addicts of all ages get surpassed regularly with the desire to utilize porn and jerk off regardless of the fact that they are not contemplating porn and can’t settle or capacity until they do.

At the point when explicit entertainment addicts attempt and quit porn, the considerations of things they have seen move round their brains like marbles and torment them. Recouping addicts can recall these pictures numerous years after they last utilized porn as a medication. Porn addicts frequently feel constrained by their dependence on jerk-off in broad daylight in public places. In case, they don’t jerk off during these circumstances, they frequently can’t adapt to the fractiousness and disturbance that accompanies the derivation of not having discharged routinely.

At the point when their life circumstance permits it, the porn addicts spend an entire day or days seeing porn. Amid these circumstances, the addicts portray feeling like ‘zombies’. They attempt to get relaxed, yet need to continue stroking off throughout the night until the time has come to get up and to go to work or school. It is extremely basic for porn addicts to have an example amid drinking sprees of being fixated on discovering certain sorts of porn pictures or scenes and can put in hours or even days looking for them.

The compulsion is like a parasite which destroys their life in entirety. They sense that they are in chains which they can’t get rid of. They are under the course of a severe impulse to get involved in porn over which they feel they have no control. Numerous addicts talk about feeling like they are always living in a boxing ring being beaten up by their dependence on erotic entertainment. Some depict it like being in a sand trap; whilst others say it is similar to suffocation.

Antenatal Classes – Pelvic Floor Exercises

Most of the pregnant women are probably hearing how important it is to have strong core muscle. If you have never come across core stability exercises, Pilates, Yoga and you are first time pregnant it is not easy to understand and start strengthening the muscle. Many pregnant women hear about the pelvic floor muscles and Kegel Exercise but not many are told where they are, how to find them and most importantly how to train them.

So let’s make it simple!

What is pelvic floor?

They are a sling of muscles that sits underneath the bladder and runs from the base of the spine (coccyx) to the pubic bone at the front.

What do they do?

The main purpose of your Pelvic floor muscles is to give your organs support and help to improve your bladder/bowel control and improve or prevent any leakage.

The pelvic floor muscles relax when you contract the bladder to let the urine out.

Why are they important for pregnant women and women who have children?

The pelvic floor muscles can weaken during pregnancy as they relax from the weight of the baby and a hormone called relaxin that softens the connective tissue of the pelvic structures in preparation for birth. During childbirth vaginal delivery may further weaken or stretch some of the supporting structures in the pelvis.

Can I do anything to help protect my pelvic floor from weakening?

Yes start your pelvic floor exercises straight away!

How do I know I am actually working my Pelvic floor muscles?

There are two ways to check that you are correctly contracting the pelvic floor:

Stop test

While going to the toilet you can try and stop the flow of urine, if you can then you are contracting the pelvic floor muscles correctly, but do not stop the flow of urine every time you go to toilet. This is a good way of seeing if you are exercising the correct muscles, but may cause problems with your bladder if you are doing the test more than once a fortnight. Remember this is a test and you must not exercise your pelvic floor muscle while urinating!

Squeeze test

You can also feel if your pelvic floor muscle is contracting by putting one or two fingers into your vagina whilst having a bath or shower. Tighten your muscles so they squeeze your fingers.

How often should I do my exercises?

Practice five pelvic floor exercise contractions five times a day

There are two types of pelvic floor exercises; low twitch and fast twitch. It is important that you do the slow twitch first and then the fast twitch each time you exercise your pelvic floor muscles.

Prepare to exercise:

Sit on a chair/toilet seat/toilet lid. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your legs slightly apart:

To perform the slow twitch exercises:

1. Close and draw up the muscles around the back passage as if you are trying to stop passing wind. Make sure you do not contract your buttock muscles whilst doing this.

2. Now close and draw up the muscles around the vagina, as though you are trying to stop the flow of urine.

3. Hold for a count of five, breathing normally and trying not to hold your breath.

4. Slowly relax and let go.

5. Repeat five times in total.

6. When you can repeat five contractions for five seconds, start to build up the hold to ten seconds, increasing by one or two seconds each time.

To perform the fast twitch exercises:

1. Pull up your pelvic floor muscles as before.

2. Hold for one second and relax.

3. Repeat five to ten times or until your muscles feel tired.

If you are performing slow twitch exercises and you find your muscles ‘let go’ too quickly and you cannot hold for a count of five then just hold them for as long as you can.

When performing pelvic floor exercises it is important NOT to:

1. Squeeze your buttocks together.

2. Bring your knees together.

3. Hold your breath.

4. Lift your shoulder/eyebrows/toe upwards.

5. Perform the exercises while urinating.

If you do any of the above then you are not contracting your muscles correctly.

Any other benefits of performing these exercises

Yes! For women, strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms.

Transmission Repair Shop – Sneaky Tactics

I hate to say this but transmission repair shops employ some of the most dishonest practices in the automotive industry. They are able to get away with this for two reasons.

The first reason is for every 50 general automotive mechanic shops there are may be five transmission shops. So supply and demand naturally hires the prices these companies can charge. This is nothing new but some of these transmission companies get outrageous.

Second, unless you are a a specialist in this field you most likely know nothing about transmissions. Any technician can tell you anything and you have no verifiable way of double checking.

Here are some common scams in the transmission repair industry and some common mistakes that customers make:

We need a new transmission a shop will give usually give you two options. They can either install a brand-new transmission, which will cost a lot, or they can install a rebuilt transmission, which will still cost a lot but possibly be half the cost.

You have to understand the dangers in getting a rebuilt transmission. There is a good possibility that these will not be as good as a brand-new transmission or may not last as long. If you’re dealing with a reputable shop who has capable employees they can rebuild a long-lasting transmission.

They should also factor work up with some type of warranty. Do not get a rebuilt transmission without a decent warranty of some type. Make sure you get it in writing. There have been many shops who have sold customers rebuild transmissions and they failed within a matter of days or weeks.

Those same customers, of course being irate, came back to the shop only to find that that particular shop would not honor its “verbal” or “implied” guarantee. If you do however agree to a rebuilt transmission please do not come crying to the transmission repair shop when after the warranty you have problems again. He did go the cheapest route and you must understand that it comes with inherent risks.

Beware of transmission shops that have all sorts of low cost transmission maintenance services and specials to get in. Many of the automotive companies or what I like to call “commission fee based shops.” The shops pay their employees a small hourly wage but make it so they receive a percentage of their total gross sales.

Avoid these companies at all costs! These transmission repair shops have a system where they trick volumes of people every single day into their place of business with the lower at cheap rates and then convince them into buying services and parts they do not need.

This practice has become standard among many of the big box national chains and quite recently has been adopted by many of the small local ones. If you feel like you’re being pressured into buying something you feel you may not need, please, get a second opinion.

I have already touched a little upon the subject but I need to bring up the matter of warranties again. Every warranty and every guarantee needs to be in writing. Do not any transmission repair facility just tell you they back up all their work.

Do not just let them tell you you can bring your car back, and they will fix it for free, if within a couple weeks or months you experience the same problems they were supposed to fix. Every agreement should be in writing including all the terms and conditions.

And speaking of terms and conditions this brings us to the most common scam that most transmission repair facilities do. It is sad that many of these companies resort to what I’m about to say but all you have to do is look online and you will hear hundreds of horror stories.

You’re having transmission problems. You go to a local transmission repair shop and get an estimate. The parts and labor cost $1200. It seems fair see make arrangements to leave your vehicle with them for several days.

Within one day you get a call from the transmission shop. They proceed to tell you that the price is going to be more than what was on the estimate. The excuses are more numerous than the sands found on the beach. It could be any excuse from the parts costing more than expected to them not being aware of the certain problem when they first gave you the estimate.

So the result is that the price that was “$1200” is now “$3500.”

Now your typical person in this position has two options at this point. He can bite the bullet and pay the $3500, in effect paying $1800 more than what was agreed upon, or he can pick his car up.

Keep in mind that the cars is most likely already torn apart at this point. Here is where shops get even worse. In order for you to pick your car up the transmission shop is still going to charge you a fee for putting your car back together, storage, towing, and trust me they will find other miscellaneous charges to add upon that.

So you end up getting the work done, but in the process getting ripped off, or you’re left with the same broken car but you paid 500 bucks just to be able to pick it back up from a shop then attempted to screw you (and they did). It’s a no-win.

This is why you should only do business with reputable transmission repair shops. How do you know if the shop is reputable? In this day and age where honesty and honor are as common as black-and-white televisions you must do your homework.

Ask family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for recommendations. The good transmission repair shops are out there. You just have to find them among the many bad ones.

Once you get a recommendation from someone you know look the shop up on the Better Business Bureau, local websites where people post reviews, and forums. Ask a transmission shop for customer references.

If they are in fact reputable they should be able to produce one or two happy customers you can talk to. A little due diligence goes a long way because once they have your car you are at their mercy.

Hopefully this article will have giving you insight about the tricks transmission repair shops employ to make a quick buck and hopefully you will be able to take this information and benefit from it.

Home Theater Sound Systems

When you get a home theater, you are probably really excited about your new TV. But a lot of people over look that maybe getting a sound system in addition to the speakers that come with the TV is a good idea. You can get surround sound, or just large speakers to attach to the TV. Getting clear sound along with the new flat screen clear picture helps to make for the ultimate movie experience. Whatever you decide to do, you can be sure that you are going to be getting the best movie experience possible when you combine a new TV with a new sound system. Surround sound is most popular for when people buy Home Theaters, and they are perfect to replicate that movie like room. In a movie theater, speakers are located all around you, not just in front of you. Duplicate that feeling with better speaker quality and surround sound!

Surround sound comes in a lot of different kinds of features, from stand alone speakers that you can put anywhere in the room, or wall mounts that you put in each corner of the room. Whatever you decide to do with your speakers, you will find that you can get great sound quality, from even the cheapest of surround sound systems you buy. You do not need to worry about blowing huge amounts of money, and you can find a sound system that fits your budget and all of your movie watching needs.

If you do not want to get surround sound, then additional, high quality speakers are also available that plug right into your TV. This is the best way to get great sound and not have to worry about installing a sound system. Speakers are relatively inexpensive, and you can get them easily at any store, whether it’s the local sound store or just at Wal-Mart. Speakers just plug right into your TV, and you do not need to worry about lots of complicated wires. The only thing you have to do is to install and get ready to watch your favorite movie in your Home Theater!

Easy Piano Music – How to Start Playing Easy Piano

Learning any musical instrument is an easy task, if the learner has a lot of determination and commitment. Piano learning is no exception and learning it is easy, if one is passionate about learning. Learning to play piano is an asset and creating your own music with chords and structures is an achievement. Today more and more people prefer to learn easy piano music that allows them to experience the pleasure of playing piano, without any glitches.

Getting started

Easy piano lessons and music make the entire process of learning piano, very simple. Easy piano music lessons offer one the luxury of beginning to learn piano, using three or four chords. For beginners, repetitive songs make them accustomed to the keys, chords and the pleasant melody involved in the tunes. ‘Chop sticks’, an easy piano classic is ideal for beginners and this acts as a template, on which complicated compositions can be built.

Easy piano songs

To learn easy piano music, a person has to select songs that are easy to play on a piano. The easiest song that is preferred by young and old alike, is the song, ‘Mary had a little Lamb’. The song’s tune is a three-note tune and this allows the learners to be familiar with the keys and use their hands dexterously. Songs like these are building blocks, in the process of learning. Songs like ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Row Row, Row your boat’ and ‘Ode to Joy’ are ideal for beginners. Choosing songs like these help one to master easy piano music, without any complication.

Easy piano classics

It is not true that when a person learns easy piano music, he learns songs that are simple and mundane. He/she can also experience playing classics, which are easy to play. The simple and classic compositions of the renowned musicians like Bach, Chopin and Beethoven offer the joy of playing classics on a piano, in a simple and lucid manner!

Easy piano classics are available online and one can download it from a particular site. They are also found in the form of CDs and even as musical scores. One can choose any form, depending upon his/her convenience. Learning the uncomplicated classical composition of the great masters is the first step towards learning more complicated songs.

Contemporary songs

Learning Easy piano music is inclusive of learning to play easy songs, easy piano classics and also contemporary songs, that are easy. Beginners consider learning contemporary songs, a pleasure. A gamut of songs are available that are timeless and simple, in the music galleries, across the globe. Songs like ‘My heart will go on’, ‘somewhere out there’, ‘Unchained melody’, etc are great songs that are also uncomplicated compositions.

Easy piano music can now be learnt online or using tutorials. A wide variety of websites offer classes on piano music and also teaches the learners easy ways to learn piano music. A person learning piano online or preferring self study must put in a lot of effort, unlike somebody, who learns piano, under the tutelage of a reputed teacher. He/she must work hard and concentrate their complete energy towards mastering their piano playing skill.

Only a person with total devotion, extreme passion and the urge to learn every nuance of playing piano becomes a great musician. Mastering the chords is the first step and the rest follows. Learning a few easy songs and classics can make a person restrict his talents. One has to learn, explore and experiment with music. A true musician masters basics practices consistently and finally focuses all his/her efforts in creating charming tunes that entertain and elevate!

Heartburn Can Be Easily Cured

Do you suffer from heartburn, reflux or burping? Perhaps you rely on a medicine to help settle your tummy. I have written on digestive disorders on several occasions previously, but this time I would like to write specifically on a little bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection is recognised as the most prevalent bacteria to infect the human population in the entire world. You may well identify the following problem, and if you do, don’t despair. It actually is possible to free from heartburn, reflux or a low grade queasiness, which affects so many people.

Helicobacter is a clever little bug

In 1982, when Australian Dr. Barry Marshall identified a new bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (HP) as an infectious agent responsible for peptic ulcer disease, it completely transformed medicine’s understanding of the microbiology and disease of the human stomach. Your stomach is protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucous that covers the stomach lining. HP takes advantage of this protection by actually living in the mucous lining. Once this clever little bug is safe in this mucous, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong (alkaline) bases. This creates a cloud of acid-neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. This cloud is also part of the reflux and burping process that occurs, which many HP people complain of.

Contributing to the protection of HP is the fact that the body’s natural defenses cannot reach these bugs in this mucous lining of the stomach. The immune system will respond to an HP infection by sending “killer T-cells”, (white blood cells), and other infection-fighting agents. However, these potential H. pylori eradicators cannot reach the infection, because they cannot easily get through stomach lining. They do not go away – the immune response just grows and grows over time. White cells die and spill their destructive compounds onto cells lining the stomach lining. More nutrients are sent to reinforce the white cells, and the H. pylori can feed on this. Within a few days, gastritis and perhaps eventually a peptic ulcer results in the lining of your tummy. And of course, the person who suffers is often blissfully unaware, takes an antacid or an acid-blocking drug long-term, and continues to eat and drink foods which only aggravate the healing process long term. So they go back to the doctor, only to be told to stay on the medicine. After a few years, the person resigns themselves to the fact that they will always require this “medicine” to cure their condition. Yeah right, and Alice lived happily after in Wonderland.

To confirm that HP caused the gastritis and peptic ulceration, Marshall swallowed cultures of the bacteria and contracted gastritis (inflammation of the mucus membrane of the stomach). He then underwent endoscopy (internal examination of the stomach), and provided biopsies from which the suspected bug was re-isolated.

Changing medical belief and practice takes time. For nearly 100 years, scientists and doctors thought that ulcers were caused by lots of stress, spicy foods, and copious alcohol. Treatment involved bed rest and a bland and boring diet. Later, researchers added stomach acid to the list of causes and began treating ulcers with antacids when they became fashionable.Unfortunate for poor Barry, nobody believed him. In fact, he was actually treated with ridicule and disdain when he first proposed the idea that a bacteria actually lived the hostile environment of the stomach. Before 1982, the accepted medical paradigm was “no acid, no ulcer”, and that stomach ulcers only occurred when excess acid damaged the stomach wall and that all treatment should be aimed at reducing or neutralising all that bad acid. Surely you remember the advertisements on TV with the man drawing on his tummy with a felt tipped pen, telling you that the acid has to “stay down there”. These commercials generally came on after dinner, the time when your tummy is most likely to play up, I can’t help but thinking how many of those sufferers possibly have an undetected H.pylori infection. There is still a lot of drug promotion regarding this acid reflux problem. Unfortunately, many such patients today are still seen as having “too much stomach acid”, and treated with antacids or stomach-acid blockers as front-line therapy, when in my clinical experience actually the opposite applies, they don’t have enough or have an infection which needs sorting. Gastric juice is composed of digestive enzymes and concentrated hydrochloric acid, which can readily digest food or kill microorganisms. Low levels of stomach acid increase the chance an organism’s survival. It used to be thought that the stomach contained no bacteria and was actually sterile, and it took an Aussie GP to prove all the world’s experts wrong.

It seems pretty silly to treat the acid problem perpetually, without enquiring into actually why this burping, reflux and upper abdominal discomfort is occurring in the first place. Albert Szent Györgyi, (1937 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine) said that: “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Today it is an established fact that most cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis, diseases that affect millions of humans worldwide, result from this HP infection, and not “too much acid” in the stomach at all.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent Györgyi

HP infection and prevalence

H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally. Did you wash your hands? Many researchers believe that HP is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of tainted food or water. In addition, it is possible that H. pylori could be transmitted from the stomach to the mouth through gastro-esophageal reflux or belching, all common symptoms of gastritis. The bacterium could then be transmitted through oral contact.

HP infection remains a huge problem, is extremely common and infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the American population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori at some stage and the economic effect of ulcer disease in the US (as measured back in a study of 1989 data) showed that the illness cost then nearly $6 billion annually. ($2.66 billion for hospitalisation, not including doctor ‘s fees), outpatient care ($1.62 billion), and loss in work productivity ($1.37 billion).

One in five Aussies and Kiwis have HP, according to Dr. Barry Marshal, infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. You can imagine what this common complaint in NZ and Australia is costing, in terms of medication, doctor’s visits and lost productivity at work. Early research on HP characterised much of the work to come, the data that emerged from the study of all these samples was quite unexpected. It showed that HP is actually a common bacterial agent and that an amazing 30-50% of the world’s population are colonised with it.

How do you know if you have the HP bug?

The infection manifests differently in different individuals. In some people, it produces more acid in the stomach, and ulcers may result. In others, stomach acid suppression or complete lack (which we call achlorhydria) may result, and these people may be at a greater risk of gastric cancer. It is unclear why some people respond one way or the other.

Typical manifestations of a Helicobacter pylori infection:

· Nausea, or a low-grade feeling of being queasy. Could be vomiting.

· Avoidance of chilli, garlic or a specific food which “does not agree” with your tummy.

· Bloating worse after meals. Feeling worse after meals or certain foods.

· Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps.

· Peptic or duodenal ulcers (over 90% of all cases have HP)

· Burping, this can be pretty bad. The person may have developed a reputation!

· Heartburn, and perhaps reliant on Quick-Eze or Gavascon, Losec, etc.

· Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection.

· Disturbed sleep, perhaps waking up with a hollow feeling or heartburn. I have known some patients to prop up the head of the bed with a few bricks even.

· Symptoms worse at night, or worse lying down.

· Vitamin B12 deficiency. Have your practitioner test for this, you may well be deficient.

· Altered appetite, some times you may feel like eating, other times you don’t.

· After being infected for several years, you may have develop mineral deficiencies which can lead to a myriad of health problems.

· Helicobacter pylori is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

· Migraine headaches (40% of migraine sufferers are positive, and eradication subsides the headaches).

· Acne rosacea. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing rosacea (eradication of HP often results in a significant reduction in rosacea symptoms).

Is it any wonder how an ailing stomach is supposed to do its job, i.e., digesting and absorbing foods efficiently when a bacterial infection is causing such dysfunction? Your doctor may have initially prescribed a medicine such as Losec, Gavascon or Mylanta for your stomach, serving to block acid or dilute it. How is your tummy supposed to work at all now? Then you go back and complain that the symptoms are unchanged. What then? You can see what I mean, after many years of this infection you can feel quite unwell. I see one person or more each week like this, and have done so for many years. When I wrote an article to our local newspaper several years ago regarding HP, I received nearly ten calls. And almost al these patients had a HP infection, all were on either Losec, Quick-Eze, Gavascon or Mylanta.

Conventional HP Therapy

Please note that it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure of your heartburn or reflux. Many stomach or digestive diseases and conditions share common symptoms: if you treat yourself for the wrong illness or a specific symptom of a complex disease, you may delay legitimate treatment of a serious underlying problem, yes even stomach cancer. In other words, the greatest danger in self-treatment may actually be self-diagnosis. Always work with your health-care professional, preferably one who is experienced in gastrointestinal disorders. If you do not know what you really have, you simply can not treat it!

I have always had a great concern regarding the extensive use of antibiotic drugs required to treat HP infected individuals. The conventional medical clearing of HP from the stomach requires therapy from 10 to 14 days with multiple drugs. My concern is that prolonged or recurrent antibiotic treatment alters the normal microbial population of the entire gastrointestinal tract, eliminating many beneficial bacteria as well as HP, allowing the sufferer to develop a gut environment which may contain bugs like Candida albicans, proteus, or a whole host of other undesirables. You get rid of one problem, only to create yet another.

Triple Therapy

The use of only one medication to treatH. pylori was never recommended by Dr. Marshall. At this time, the most conventional treatment is a 2-week course of treatment called “triple therapy”. It involves taking two antibiotics to kill the bacteria and either an acid suppressor or stomach-lining shielding drug. Two-week triple therapy reduces ulcer symptoms, kills the bacteria, and prevents ulcer recurrence in many patients – but the recurrence can be as high as 75%. Complete eradication is difficult, I have had many patients who have come to me after having had triple therapy many years ago with average to poor results, and were placed on an acid blocker for many years after.I do recommend this for some resistant cases, and have been know to send some patients to a GP for triple therapy, then follow-up with natural treatment for 6 weeks. I have found that some patients may find triple therapy complicated because it involves taking 3 kinds of drugs, and as many as 20 pills a day. Also, the antibiotics and bismuth drugs used in triple therapy may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness, headache, and yeast infections, particularly in women.

HP Testing

The diagnosis of H. pylori infection has traditionally involved endoscopy with biopsies of the stomach’s mucosa. There are three ways to test for HP currently in NZ. To be honest, I only occasionally authorise a HP test these days, and generally have a “gut feeling” a person has this bug once they come into my room and complain of the above mentioned symptoms. Common sense – the patient will soon tell you if they are or are not improving, and it only takes about three to four weeks to really know what is going on. Just because the test results come back negative, you could still have this bug. You know me by now, please don’t get paralysis from analysis! If you feel significantly better after a HP treatment whether it be pharmaceutical or natural – you probably have HP regardless of what the test results say. Remember – up to one in five New Zealanders have this infection, so the odds are reasonably high you have it.

· The Urea Breath Test method of diagnosis relies on the Urea reaction being present, as mentioned earlier. This is a sound test – 90 – 95% successful in picking up the HP bug.

· Blood tests measuring HP antibody levels have been developed. However, these tests have suboptimal sensitivity and specificity (85% and 79%).

· Stool tests for antibodies – again, many factors can affect the outcome of this test, stay with breath testing. Many experts say that the fecal antigen test is bullet proof, but in my experience I have seen many “false negatives” with testing. That is, the results come back all ok, but the patient responds dramatically after HP treatment.

Natural HP Eradication

No clear indications exist for specific treatment of each and every individual case of HP associated gastritis. I have found the following treatments to be effective, and employed many different therapies over the years. Here are some treatments which I have found to work in various HP cases. Remember, recurrence rates are quite high, so you may want to persist with treatment until you feel much better, then hang in there for a few more months (lower grade treatment) to be absolutely sure. I recommend treatment in blocks of 6 weeks, then wait 2 -3 weeks, then another 6 week period of treatment. A good clinical tip for you: always treat this infection by taking something with meals, and also something in-between, or away from foods. This is designed to really drive the “kill” treatment home, and lets the treatment have access to the HP bugs in the gut with as well as away to some extent from foods and gastric juice involvement. I have a saying in my clinic: persistence breaks resistance. Remember Winston Churchill? – never give in, never give in, never give in.

· Manuka honey, which has high levels of hydrogen peroxide and has been shown in studies to be active against H. pylori. Go for the Comvita high UMF factor Manuka honey.

· Propolis works really well for some, but is dismal for others.

· Vitamin B12 – get this checked in your blood! You may well be deficient here.

· After antibiotic treatment is finished, (triple therapy) it makes sense to rebuild the gut flora with lactobacillus species. They won’t cure the condition, however. (A 2002 trial demonstrated that a mixed acidophilus preparation failed to eradicate the H. pylori infection in the patients upon whom it was tried).

· DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) – you can get this in capsules or liquid.

· Aloe Vera helps to heal the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

· Berberine is found in the herb Goldenseal, and it may be used as a natural herbal antibiotic.

· Eat grapefruit seeds, for some this is very effective long term. The extract is even better.

· Digestive enzymes may also be useful – especially with achlorhydria (low stomach acid)

· Gum mastic is a natural substance from the sap of the Mediterranean evergreen tree, Pistacia lemniscuses. Mastic gum has been shown to be effective in protecting the digestive system, healing peptic and duodenal ulcers, and eradicating H. pylori from the gut. I use this a lot, and give two capsules twice daily in between meals.

· Bismuth. It displays anti-inflammatory action (due to salicylic acid) and also acts as an antacid and mild antibiotic. Don’t freak out – It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some people who take it, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in their saliva and gastrointestinal tract. This discoloration is temporary and absolutely harmless.

My favourite HP treatment regime? I would have to say gum mastica between meals, and with meals a preparation of Bismuth,deglycyrrhizinated licorice, grapefruit seed extract and goldenseal. I often recommend aloe vera and activated charcoal as well.

Do you get that annoying heartburn, and want to try and find a cause and ultimately a cure? Consult your naturopath or nutritional-friendly doctor who can check you out carefully and thoroughly and who will actually treat the cause, not the symptom. They should generally recommend a course of treatment and a specific diet designed for the individual, with promising results for many patients. And what a relief, to be free of heartburn, bloating and that “awful feeling in the tummy” again!