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Poop Bank Opens in the Netherlands

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Vials of fecal transplant material. Image credit: Cjc2nd via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Dutch diarrhea has a new enemy: a poop bank. The Netherlands is opening its first fecal bank (like a blood bank for poop) in the hopes of making healthy poop available for patients with chronic gut issues.

The new Netherlands Donor Feces Bank at Leiden University will collect and store healthy stool samples to distribute to doctors performing fecal transplants. Intended to rebalance the bacterial populations found in a healthy gut microbiome, fecal transplants can help cure persistent, recurring Clostridium difficile infection, which is a potentially deadly condition caused by antibiotics. In fact, the CDC calls fecal transplants the “most effective method for helping patients with repeat C. difficile infections,” though the technique is still experimental as far as the Food and Drug Administration is concerned.

In the future, fecal transplants might be used to cure other hard-to-treat intestinal diseases, like Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The U.S. currently has two nonprofit poop banks, one in Massachusetts and one in California. And if you're looking to donate, the U.S. may be a better place to be a poop donor than the Netherlands. In fact, you can even get paid for it.

[h/t IOL]

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Beyond the Label: How to Pick the Right Medicines For Your Cold and Flu Symptoms
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The average household spends an annual total of $338 on various over-the-counter medicines, with consumers making around 26 pharmacy runs each year, according to 2015 data from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. To save cash and minimize effort (here's why you'd rather be sleeping), the Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding certain cold and flu products, and selecting products containing specific active ingredients.

Since medicine labels can be confusing (lots of people likely can’t remember—let alone spell—words like cetirizine, benzocaine, or dextromethorphan), the famous hospital created an interactive infographic to help patients select the right product for them. Click on your symptom, and you’ll see ingredients that have been clinically proven to relieve runny or stuffy noses, fevers, aches, and coughs. Since every medicine is different, you’ll also receive safety tips regarding dosage levels, side effects, and the average duration of effectiveness.

Next time you get sick, keep an eye out for these suggested elements while comparing products at the pharmacy. In the meantime, a few pro tips: To avoid annoying side effects, steer clear of multi-symptom products if you think just one ingredient will do it for you. And while you’re at it, avoid nasal sprays with phenylephrine and cough syrups with guaifenesin, as experts say they may not actually work. Cold and flu season is always annoying—but it shouldn’t be expensive to boot.

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Why You Might Not Want to Order Tea or Coffee On Your Next Flight
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A cup of tea or coffee at 40,000 feet may sound like a great way to give yourself an extra energy boost during a tiring trip, but it might be healthier to nap away your fatigue—or at least wait until hitting ground to indulge in a caffeine fix. Because, in addition to being tepid and watery, plane brew could be teeming with germs and other harmful life forms, according to Business Insider.

Multiple studies and investigations have taken a closer look at airplane tap water, and the results aren’t pretty—or appetizing. In 2002, The Wall Street Journal conducted a study that looked at water samples taken from 14 different flights from 10 different airlines. Reporters discovered “a long list of microscopic life you don’t want to drink, from Salmonella and Staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs," they wrote.

And they added, "Worse, contamination was the rule, not the exception: Almost all of the bacteria levels were tens, sometimes hundreds, of times above U.S. government limits."

A 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that water supplies on 15 percent of 327 national and international commercial aircrafts were contaminated to varying degrees [PDF]. This all led up to the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, an EPA initiative to make airlines clean up. But in 2013, an NBC investigation found that at least one out of every 10 commercial U.S. airplanes still had issues with water contamination.

Find out how airplane water gets so gross, and why turning water into coffee or tea isn’t enough to kill residual germs by watching Business Insider’s video below.

[h/t Business Insider]

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