That Dreaded Germ Ridden Flu Season!

It’s that dreaded flu season again! Most of us unfortunately know what the flu feels like, but have you ever wondered what it looks like? When we picture the Flu virus or any germ for that matter, we imagine one of those creatures from the Mucinex commercial on television. Green, slimy and gross! Or maybe you picture some kind of cuddly creature with googly-eyes? No matter what it is you think germs look like, they all look and act completely different! 

Image Source:

Germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease. Germs are so small and sneaky that they creep into our bodies without being noticed. In fact, germs are so tiny that you need to use a microscope to see them. When they get in our bodies, we don’t know what hit us until we have symptoms that say we’ve been attacked!

There are four types of germs that can be spread. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Let’s look at what the four different types of germs are and what they actually look like after being magnified under an electron microscope!


Image Source:

Bacteria [BACK-teer-ee-uh]  are single celled organisms that can live inside or outside of the body that cause infections like sore throats, ear infections, or pneumonia. Usually most bacterial infections can be treated with an antibiotic medication prescribed by your doctor.

Image Source:

Viruses [VY-rus-iz] rely upon animals, humans or its host in order to grow and reproduce. When viruses get inside peoples’ bodies they can spread quickly and can make them sick.  Viruses cause diseases like chicken pox, measles, and the flu.   They are not treatable by antibiotics, however, there are antivirals that are effective against a few viruses like influenza or “the flu”. Check out this NPR video and see how a flu virus attacks the body!

Fungi [FUN-guy] are plant-like organisms that get their nutrients from other plants, animals or humans. An example of a common fungus that ails humans is athlete’s foot or ringworm.  Common fungal ailments are usually treated with a topical anti-fungal ointment or anti-fungal drugs.

Protozoa [pro-toh-ZOH-uh] or amoebas are one-celled organisms that spread through water or moisture. Protozoa can cause intestinal issues like diarrhea, nausea, or stomach pain. Protozoa can also be found in the foods you eat, water you drink or through insects. Protozoan parasites can also cause major health conditions like malaria. Developing countries mostly suffer from these germs because of the lack of adequate public health systems to apply insect control methods. Some anti-parasitic  can be issued to individuals but they can be very harmful and somewhat ineffective.

You’ve most likely had your mother tell you to go “wash your hands” before sitting down for dinner. Why do you think she would have you do this? Perhaps to get off all the germs that could be lingering on your hands, so they don’t get in your mouth while you eat! At any given time, one square inch of your hand can have 1,500 bacteria present!!

Over the past couple of decades, we have changed our ways about how we deal with the spreading of germs. Our germ prevention ways have evolved tremendously! The introduction of hand sanitizers into society has become extremely successful. With society becoming more hygiene and germ-free aware, hand sanitizers aimed to replace the traditional washing with soap and water. What do you think are some other ways we can sanitize our hands and objects we touch?

When you are out at the grocery store, for example, you can usually find a sanitizer wipe in order to wipe down the grocery cart. Or say you are at the gym and you’ve finished using the treadmill, it’s normal and encouraged to wipe down the equipment with a gym provided sanitizing wipe! Most public bathrooms sport motion activated flushing toilets, soap dispensers, sinks and even paper towel dispensers! All these motion activated devices are supposed to cut down the amount of germs being spread from individual to individual in public places.

Something as natural and as seemingly harmless as shaking someone’s hand could help spread germs like a cold or the flu. It recently came to our attention that people are now instead of shaking each other’s hands, they are giving one another “fist bumps”. Researchers from Aberystwyth University-Ceredigion in the United Kingdom have studied this transmission of germs from shaking hands versus fist bumps and determined that shaking hands transferred 10 times more germs than a short fist bump! So after careful studies it is determined that the fist bump or elbow bump is a simple and more hygienic alternative to the hand shake.

Germs are extremely contagious and it is important to protect yourself during these months when people are more prone to getting colds, the flu and other ailments. Here is a list of when you should wash your hands in order to stop the spreading of harmful germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

As flu and cold season rolls on we must keep a conscious effort to cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, wash/sanitize our hands frequently, and protect ourselves from any harmful germs that might be going around!



American Journal of Infection Control- “The Fist Bump: A more hygienic alternative to the handshake” by Sara Mela BSc, David Whitworth PhD



Flu Virus:



2014 Biltmore Farms Holiday Lighting Event: Western North Carolina HTHT

This past Friday, November 21, 2014, High Touch High Tech of Western North Carolina participated in a large community event to ring in the holidays! The kids and families were able to visit 3 of our tables where we did 3 different science experiments. The first experiment we did with the kids was “Ice Cube Fishing”, where they would try to catch a piece of ice on some string. The second table was our Make Your Own Snow station. The kids would get to take pippettes of water and watch their snow grow 300 times its size right in front of them! And lastly, the third table was for our Christmas Ornament Chromotagraphy experiment. They kids would be able to draw on their own ornament and then watch as the water separated the colors from the marker. All in all it was a fantastic evening of FUN and learning for everyone!





































If you have a holiday event/party for your work or organization, High Touch High Tech offers a fun and unique holiday party! Call and ask for more information today!

The True Culprit Behind The “Turkey-Day Coma”



With ‘Turkey Day’ on the way it’s important to discuss the ever popular myth that turkey makes you sleepy!

For the past few decades, we’ve blamed post-Thanksgiving drowsiness on tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey meat. Is this really fair or should we be pointing our fingers somewhere else? Perhaps somewhere closer to our empty plates and full bellies? Tryptophan indeed is linked to drowsiness – that’s no myth. It’s a biochemical precursor to serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain and body. But to put an ordinarily awake person into a state of slumber it would generally have to be consumed on an empty stomach, in combination with little no other protein (which limits the absorption of tryptophan by the body), and in amounts larger than are typically gobbled up during a holiday feast. L-tryptophan is also present in chocolate, some fruits, dairy, red meat and eggs. But we as a society don’t associate those food items with drowsiness. However, tryptophan is almost certainly not the cause of the Turkey Day food coma. The real culprit? It’s probably a combination of your body working hard to digest a large meal and a fervent desire to put off doing the dishes!

Think About It Thursday: Why Does Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor?


Image Source:

The basic components of chewing gum are gum base, softeners, sweeteners and flavorings. Gum base is what makes the gum chewy. When gum was first discovered it was made from tree saps called “chicle” from the sapodilla tree. However, today gum base is usually made out of a mix of rubber and artificial materials. Then gum makers will add a softner to the gum base to prevent it from hardening. Lastly, they will add sweetners and flavorings to the gum base.

When you chew gum, the saliva in your mouth begins to digest the sweeteners and flavorings in the gum. Unlike the gum base, the other ingredients can be broken down and digested. As you swallow while you chew, the digested sweeteners and flavorings move through your digestive system to your stomach. Eventually, you digest all the sweeteners and flavorings, and all you’re left with is the gum base and softeners. That’s when you sense that your gum has lost its flavor. {1}



Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It also marks the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

Most sources spell Veterans as a simple plural without a possessive apostrophe (Veteran’s or Veterans’). [1]


Image Source:




Think About It Thursday: Where Do Diamonds Come From?


Image Source:

Over the years it has been said that diamonds formed from the metamorphism of coal. According to, we now know this is untrue. “Coal has rarely played a role in the formation of diamonds. In fact, most diamonds that have been dated are much older than Earth’s first land plants – the source material of coal! That alone should be enough evidence to shut down the idea that Earth’s diamond deposits were formed from coal”.

There is thought to be 4 processes that lead to diamond formation. The first of the four processes is the most significant.

1. Earth’s Mantle- Geologist believe that diamonds form in the Earth’s mantle and are transported the the Earth’s surface by deep-source volcanic eruptions. The diamonds form from pure carbon in the mantle under extreme heat and pressure.

2. Subduction Zones- “Tiny diamonds have been found in rocks that are thought to have been subducted deep into the mantle by plate tectonic processes – then returned to the surface .”

3. Impact Sites – Throughout the Earth’s vast history, it has been hit by a large number of asteroids. These asteroids strike the Earth with intense heat and pressure that geologists believe that it is perfect for diamond formation. “This theory of diamond formation has been supported by the discovery of tiny diamonds around several asteroid impact sites.”

4. Formation in Space – “Smithsonian researchers also found large numbers of tiny diamonds when they were cutting a sample from the Allen Hills meteorite. These diamonds in meteorites are thought to have formed in space through high speed collisions similar to how diamonds form on Earth at impact sites”.

Coal is not a good source for diamond formation. Since coal is formed from plant debris and the oldest land plants are younger than almost every diamond that has ever been dated, it is easy to conclude that coal did not play a significant role in the formation of Earth’s diamonds.


Thanks for checking out this weeks Think About It Thursday! Stay tuned each week for more science related topics!

Sources: –

The Healing Power of Super Foods

By this date in 2014, I think it is safe to assume that we have all heard the term “super food”. But have any of us sat down to figure out what that really means? What comes to mind when I think about superfoods, is that it is a type of food that when we consume it, we will be given some sort of extra energy and nutrients compared to other foods that we consume. The dictionary definition for super foods is as follows, “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”

Here is a list of some of the most common super foods and their benefits that are available in today’s marketplaces:



Image Source:



Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which help the body to combat free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. These popular berries are also rich in Vitamins K and C! All non-poisonous berries are considered super foods, its just that blueberries are the most common and widely available of the berries in the United States.




Image Source:


The next super food on our list is Salmon. Wild caught salmon has fewer calories and less fat than the farmed salmon. Salmon is considered a super food because of its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s have the ability to lower your chance for heart disease, help with arthritis, and possibly help with memory loss/dementia.





Açai is a small purple berry that was discovered for it’s anti-aging and high levels of antioxidant qualities. When eaten it helps reduce the bad cholesterol in our blood and increases the good cholesterol. The tribes of the Amazon knew of these properties and found out that it helped build the immune system, fight infection, and protect the heart. Because of these qualities, the açai berry is considered one of the most powerful super foods available today!

Image Source:



Chia Seeds are native to Mexico and are packed full of Omega-3’s, calcium and fiber. If your not a fish person, these are a great alternative in order get those wonderful and healthful Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet! Not quite sure about how they’ll taste? Well they are a little bit nutty with a good crunch and no after taste! Give them a try by sprinkling them on oatmeal or in smoothies!



Image Source:


Bee pollen is collected by bees from flowering plants and formed into granules. Bee pollen is the most complete food found in nature and has five to seven times more protein than beef. Bee pollen is a natural antidote for fighting allergies particularly hayfever and sinusitus.  Research shows that pollen counteracts the signs of aging and increases both mental and physical capability. But how do you eat this stuff?! I sprinkle it on top of a fruit smoothie (it adds a little bit of sweetness too!) or you can dissolve it in tea and even sprinkle over your morning cereal!



Image Source:


Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders. Coconut oil can increase  your energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term! Now who doesn’t want that?! But the greatest thing (I think anyways) about coconut oil is the properties it has for killing off bacteria, viruses and fungi. The lauric acid that is present in the oil has been proven to combat harmful pathogens and to promote infection prevention!

For more information about the healing benefits of coconut oil visit this site:


Image Source:


Kale is a leafy green vegetable. BUT what makes it a superfood over lettuce, is the fact that it carries more iron, vitamin k, a, and vitamin c than most other leafy veggies! Kale has anti-inflammatory tendencies, tons of antioxidants, and is high in fiber!




There are many foods out there that can be considered a superfood. These are just a few that you can start adding into your diet and start reaping the amazing benefits!