The seven habits of highly infectious people

Having been rather unpleasantly under the weather lately, I've tried to be hyper-vigilant about ways to prevent infecting my wife and others unlucky enough to come into contact with me (trust me, they don't want what I got). Here are some tips on what not to do when you've got the cold, flu or Big D; ie, the habits of highly infectious people.

1. Making out whilst illin'
Not sure how long to wait before you can resume lip-lockin' with the one u love (or whomever) after you've come down with something? Refer also to #5, but researchers say that you should wait at least five days -- or longer, if, y'know, you really care.

2. Not washing your hands
This one seems pretty obvious, but I'm sure we've all been guilty of not washing our hands as much as we could when we're sick. After all, it's the simplest and -- barring the super-unlikely development of a cold vaccine -- still the most effective method of preventing the spread of the cold virus.

3. Picking your friend's nose
You know the old saying, "you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose ..." (I was always much better at the latter than the former, by the way.) Turns out you really shouldn't pick anybody's nose, especially when you're sick. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "Much of the research on the transmission of the common cold has been done with rhinoviruses, which are shed in the highest concentration in nasal secretions."

4. Using human waste as fertilizer to grow food
You gotta admit, it's a pretty cheap and abundantly-available resource, which is why a lot of developing nations use it to grow their crops. And while the locals might be used to that sort of thing -- and the parasites which subsequently infect those fruits and veggies -- tourists aren't, and will pay mightily for the indulgence ... in the john.

5. Hanging out in crowds after you've been sick for three days
Studies have shown that colds are most easily transmittable between the second and fourth day of infection, so if you've been sick for a couple of days already, do us all a favor and skip the office President's Day party this year.

6. Taking lots of aspirin when you have a cold
Researchers say that using aspirin to treat colds increases the amount of "virus shed" in nasal secretions -- making your snot even more potently infectious, in other words -- and the cold sufferer more of a hazard to others.

7. Pooping in the pool
It sounds silly, but it's pretty serious; that kind of bacteria travels quickly and it doesn't take much to make people seriously ill. In 1998, for instance, 26 kids at an Atlanta water park were infected with E. coli, killing one of them and causing permanent damage to several others, all because one sick person couldn't hold it.

The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”



More from mental floss studios