The Road-Ready HealthWire for October 4, 2002
“Bits and Bobs*”
to Keep You Sane, Safe, and Healthy on the Go
R. Fedin, The Wellness Concierge®
In the News:
Steer Clear of Old Cell Phones (or Not)
Euro Coins Trigger Allergic Reactions •
Wasabi Ups Sushi Safety
Job-Related Hazards Don't Threaten Cabin
Travel Health & Safety:
Assess your DVT risk
• Check cell-phone
Get screened for depression, anxiety, and
Don't underestimate infectious-disease risks
Spa and Fitness Resources:
$25 Spa Treatments
Luxe Exercise in Coconut Grove
Get Fit on the Fly
List Your Way to a Better Workout
"Fan" Yourself Fit
Wearable ID That Saves Your Sanity—and
A Hand-Held Tension Tamer
ANOTHER REASON TO EMBRACE THE NEWEST
TECHNOLOGY? Techies and gadget lovers don't need an excuse to
purchase the latest cell-phone models. Now, the rest of us have some
incentive to ditch any old-style, analog phones we might still be using
(And yes, there are places in the world that still rely on analog,
rather than digital, units.).
A Swedish study detailed in the August,
2002, issue of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention cautions
that "use of analogue cellular telephones was associated with a 30%
increase in the incidence of brain tumors, compared to those not
using cell phones."
In terms of risk, newer, it seems, is
definitely better because newer digital phones emit less radiation than
older analog models such as the ones used in the study.
ELSEWHERE IN SWEDEN... The Swedish
Radiation Protection Authority, which initiated a review of cell-phone
studies, refutes any cell-phone and cancer link. In
an AP story,
Lars-Erik Paulsson, a radiation expert with the agency, notes that, “You
can never say that something is without risk, but at least we can say
that there is no scientific evidence for a causal association between
the use of cellular phones and cancer."
STUDY CITES EURO COIN IRRITATION:
Seems the currency switch wasn't the only source of aggravation for many
international travelers. A recent Swiss study published in the British
journal, Nature, has confirmed what many travelers already know:
Euro coins that include nickel in their composition can cause skin
irritations, allergic reactions, and even eczema.
So if you've experienced a prickly
sensation, itching, or rashes after frequent handling of one- and
two-Euro coins, you may be sensitive to nickel. The EU regulates the
nickel content in items such as jewelry and watchbands to prevent
irritations and allergic reactions but coins are not regulated.
According to the study, Swiss scientists found that nickel released
by the one- and two-Euro coins is between 240 and 320 times higher than
European Union norms.
Frank Nestle, the principal author of the
new study, indicated that the nickel release was especially high from
the one-euro coin with values that were "among the highest
nickel-release rates ever measured on coins."
If you're nickel-sensitive, limit
contact with such coins and wash your hands after handling.
THINK GREEN FOR SUSHI SAFETY: Love
raw fish but are concerned about possible bacterial infection? Eating
only fresh, quality fish at hygienic and well-maintained restaurants is
one way to protect yourself. Piling on the wasabi (mustard) is another.
Scientists have confirmed that an ingredient (isothiocyanates) in wasabi
has antimicrobial properties and can even kill forms of E-coli and
GOOD NEWS FOR FLIGHT CREWS (AND MAYBE
YOU, TOO!): If you’re a true road warrior, you may be spending as
many, or more, hours in the air as many flight attendants. If so, the
results of a recent German study of health hazards and mortality risks
for cabin crews who worked on commercial carriers may interest you.
Published in the September issue of the
American Journal of Epidemiology, the study affirms that
occupational-related hazards such as exposure to cosmic radiation and
changes in biorhythms when crossing time zones don't increase their
mortality risks. "Occupational causes seem not to contribute strongly to
the mortality of airline cabin attendants."
TRAVEL HEALTH & SAFETY:
ARE YOU AT RISK FOR DVT? As the news
has shown, being young or physically fit is no protection from
experiencing life-threatening DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) on lengthy
flights. A short online quiz developed by the
UK-based Fleet Street Travel
Clinic can help assess your personal risk factors. Along with
your risk level, you get a list of specific suggestions on how to
MONITOR CELL-PHONE SAFETY DATA:
If you're concerned about cell-phone
safety, bookmark these two sites:
The Do-Mode Search Engine
SAR Data Page lets you
check cell-phone radiation levels by manufacturer and model. SAR
refers to specific absorption radiation levels, which vary by phone and
fluctuate based on a user's location and the phone's battery status.
If you can't find information for your
model, the site links you to a page with
manufacturer phone and
e-mail contact information.
The joint FCC and FDA cell-phone facts site is a one-stop
consumer education site. With information on radio frequency (RF)
technology, wireless phone safety standards and issues, FAQs, links to
related research and government agencies involved in this area, and a
glossary, it's a virtual guide to the technical, health, and safety
aspects of cellular phones.
After navigating a few links, you can
get specifics on your phone's
radiation levels by entering your phone's FCC ID and other code
data. There's a form to
comments and questions.
As helpful as it is, it's a
government-sponsored site, which means you're getting an edited take on
controversial issues such as cell-phone safety.
YOU CAN'T SHAKE IT OFF, GET HELP: Sleepless?
Anxious? Angry? Tense? Irritable? Jumpy? Excessively Moody. Maybe it's a
passing feeling. Or maybe these are symptoms of something more serious:
Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other
mood disorders. They can—and do—strike countless men and women on and
off the road. Undetected and untreated, they can wreak havoc on anyone's
personal and professional lives.
If you, or someone you care about, might need help, October 10 is
Screening Day. Some 2,000 sites nationwide are offering
screenings , educational presentations, and referrals. More
If you prefer to meet with a professional
privately, contact the
Association's hotline (800-964-2000),
which will connect you with a local referral network.
The organization's Web site
is full or useful resources, including
and insightful commentary on stress, relationships, and work-related
issues that affect overall mental health and well being.
STAY ALERT TO THE REAL
RISKS Even the savviest travelers don't know who's at risk or the
risk factor for highly contagious infectious diseases. If you, for
example, think that staying at luxurious, high-end hotels and eating
only in the best restaurants as you globe trot will protect you from
catching infectious diseases such as Hepatitis A, think again. Most
perception of the real risks is flawed and they may need medical advice
and preparation that they had not anticipated.
A Canadian study noted in the
July, 2002, Journal of Travel Medicine found that its subjects
(Canadians visiting tourist destinations) were unaware of the actual
infectious disease risks their travel itineraries presented. (The
majority were more threatened by the prospect of diarrhea than the more
serious infectious diseases for which they were more at risk.) Your best
bet for international travel: Let a travel-health specialist assess
the risks and recommend preventative action. You can
search for a local travel
clinic at the International
Society of Travel Medicine's Web site.
SPA & FITNESS RESOURCES
Oaks at Ojai,
one of the leading health and wellness spas, is celebrating
its 25th anniversary and serving up substantial discounts for
spa-goers. Through October 25, guests who book a
three-night stay at the California spa receive a 25 percent
discount. Any guest staying at the spa from October 1
through noon on October 25 can
spa treatment for $25 (massages and treatments are
regularly priced at $45 to $125). Some treatments are not
available at the reduced rate. Reservations: 800-753-6257
WORK OUT IN THE GROVE: The newly opened
Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove (305-644-4680) in Miami sports a 5,000-square-foot fitness center that
includes weight training and exercise equipment (Cybex
units with built-in TVs); six spa-treatment rooms; and separate
men's and women's lounges with a sauna, steam room, and whirlpool
bath. The property has an outdoor terrace pool if you
want to get in some laps.
property also boasts a
boutique spa whose offerings
include a "Jet Lag" facial and an "Executive
Express" package for time-challenged guests. The latter pairs
a 30-minute session with a personal trainer and a 30-minute
massage or facial, each of which can be booked at different times
during the day.
GET FIT ON THE FLY:
If working out at a fitness center or health club is an integral
part of your travel schedule, check out Business Traveler
Business of Fitness." Writer Bob Curley details
domestic and International hotel and allied fitness centers and
reviews various properties’ fitness amenities.
YOUR WAY TO A BETTER WORKOUT:
Want even more data and details on fitness
facilities around the U.S. and the globe? Check out the
FitForBusiness.com, an online company that provides
"services for the athletic business traveler."
CEO Ron Rosell, who is also a business traveler and
fitness enthusiast, has culled over 300 listings of hotel
fitness facilities and local fitness venues for U.S. and
The well-designed and easily navigated site is updated and
upgraded regularly. Most important, listings are independently
selection criteria.) by Rosell and his staff and listings
are neither paid for nor sponsored. Rosell is seriously
committed to maintaining the evaluation standards and properties
can be unlisted if they fail to maintain standards.
The listings include
specifics on club amenities, hours, programs, types of equipment,
and spa treatments. If you can’t access information for a
desired location, you can e-mail the company with your request.
(Select "Contact Us" on the homepage and fill in the pop-up
The company is developing
a benefits membership program targeted to “athletic
frequent travelers” that will offer service and rate discounts
and free access to specific properties, including hotel-associated and
airport fitness facilities. You can
pre-register to use current participating venues before
the program is officially launched.
You can try out a demo of
Sweattime, an athletic club booking system that also
includes class times and details for selected venues.
A Wellness Concierge®
If you're a
serious workout enthusiast—or anyone seeking well-run fitness
centers and health clubs at your destination, this is a valuable
resource for locating won't-disappoint-you fitness properties.
"FAN" YOURSELF FIT
If you've despaired of finding a truly
useful portable workout guide, take heart. Benefit Health
Media's compact Training
Fan is the answer to a traveler's prayers—and the end to
any excuses you've been using for avoiding road workouts.
The Training Fan's functional and unique design, which
allows you to easily view single and multiple pages, reflects
creator Andrea Barash's experience as a writer, graphic designer,
and personal trainer.
The 96-"page" fan (a little over 8 inches long, 1½ inches
wide, and an inch deep) segments exercises into color-coded
muscle groups and includes 64 strength exercises, 20 stretches,
and three workouts. There's a basic start-up section, warm-up
and cool down moves, and detailed training tips.
Clear photos illustrate movements, making it easier to
correctly execute the exercises.
Graphic icons flag exercises that require no or minimal equipment
or machines (weight-resistance and heavier gym equipment).
Training logs, blank pages for notes,
motivational quotes, and short primers on each muscle group are
found on the reverse side of the water-resistant, tear-proof
pages. More info: toll-free 866-550-6666;
$24.95. Bulk orders can be customized for corporate or individual
DID I PUT IT?
As if the airport security shuffle wasn't already challenging, now
more and more travelers are faced with an equally stressful
scenario of their own making. All those lines and checkpoints have
left us glazed and dazed to the point of serious distraction and
forgetfulness. The result? More road warriors are losing or
misplacing important items—airline tickets, boarding passes,
passports, laptops, wallets, briefcases, eyeglasses, and cell
phones—as they repeatedly handle them while hurling themselves
through the airport security gauntlet.
To the rescue comes healthcare executive and (very) frequent flyer
Judy Jacobs. Her own all-too-painful experience with misplaced
travel documents spawned the
Pouch, an around-the-neck ID holder and organizer.
The black nylon pouch (slightly larger
than a Walkman) has four compartments (three exterior and a
zippered interior one that runs the length of the pouch) that can
easily hold important paper paraphernalia as well as keys, coins,
a small cell phone, passport, and credit cards (for us all-in-one-
It's especially useful for women who
don't want to tote a handbag and whose clothes don't always have
the pockets in which to stash such items.
Fashionistas may hold out for a Prada
leather version, but the rest of us can enjoy
hands-free comfort now with the more affordable $14.99 model. To
WHEN A MASSAGE
ISN'T AN OPTION:
There's nothing like a really good full-body massage to take the
kinks out of travel. When time and resources leave you without a
masseuse, however, you can take matters in your own hands with
Wahl's new handheld massage tool. The unit, which looks
like a sleek flashlight, pairs infrared heat and magnet
therapy. Apply, as needed to achy body parts such as
shoulders, neck, and hands for tension-taming relaxation and
is compiled from medical and scientific journals and related
professional publications, which have vetted the research data that they