CLOSE
Original image
iStock

New Google Maps Tool Will Help People in India Locate Public Toilets

Original image
iStock

Lack of access to toilets is one of public health’s greatest crises, causing serious diseases that, especially in children, can be fatal. Toilets are particularly rare in India, where an estimated 70 percent of the population doesn’t have access to one. But now, the Indian government and Google are launching a public toilet locator to help people find clean facilities, according to The Verge and the International Business Times India.

The Google Toilet Indicator, sponsored by the Indian Ministry of Urban Development, will be an integrated part of Google Maps. According to India.com, it works like this:

Once you open Maps, you can simply put in any word related to a toilet, like lavatory, toilet, washroom, sauchalay, sulabh, etc. and Google Map Toilet Locator will understand your need. It will then locate all the public toilets in the vicinity and help you locate one closest to you. Additionally, people will be able to review the toilet and give feedback so if the one you visit is particularly stinky and dirty, give it negative ratings and help others stay away.

A pilot program is debuting around New Delhi during the ministry’s “Cleanliness Fortnight,” which runs until November 30. You’ll be able to search for public restrooms and those in metro stations, gas stations, hospitals, and more. Eventually, the app will cover the entire country, but there’s not yet an end date.

Access to toilets isn’t India’s only sanitation problem. Especially in rural areas where open defecation has been the norm for years, it has proven incredibly difficult to convince people to use them, for cultural and personal reasons. Though the Indian government aims to build 60 million toilets by 2019, efforts to curb open defecation haven’t been terribly successful. While a toilet finder can’t fix that problem, it can help foreign tourists and urban residents who are already accustomed to using them.

[h/t The Verge]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Beyond the Label: How to Pick the Right Medicines For Your Cold and Flu Symptoms
Original image
iStock

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.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Why You Might Not Want to Order Tea or Coffee On Your Next Flight
Original image
iStock

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]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios