MASKS

Denise:This recent article compares the cheaper surgical masks versus the N95, which filters better if you fit it tightly around the face. It says they are equally effective – but may not be that effective (over 20% infection rate per flu season with either). Other studies disagree. The paper surgical masks are much more comfortable. However, most people will probably tell you to get N95 (which is what I have too). They smell funny, though, and are very hot.”

☞ Better hot than dead.

Ken Smith:This is what you want.”

☞ Not cheap or easy to find, but I got a couple here.

GUNS

Sheldon Teperman: “Not sure if you’ve been following this tragic story: a church-going, happy and vibrant 92-year-old woman whose life was snuffed out by a stray bullet that came through her window as she cooked dinner. Unfortunately they keep reporting one fact incorrectly. She was very much alive when she came to Jacobi (not DOA). First the ED, and then my team and I and Anesthesia in the OR, struggled mightily and for some time to save her frail, beautiful life. But suffice it to say, there is no technique of 21st Century medicine that could have fixed what that bullet did. When I pronounced her, I was overcome with the futility and the horror of what had just transpired. I am grateful to the OR staff for their usual professionalism and their support in what was a very dark moment in my career as a trauma surgeon. Had there been a chance, Jacobi would have seized it. This morning they arrested a teenager and charged him with murder. Another wasted life. Our society has become inured to this type of violence and accepts, as a matter of fact, that we must have our guns, to remain free. I continue to challenge that assumption – in the name of Sadie Mitchell and in the name of those that have come before and those who are most certainly to follow.”

TRAVEL TIP

Instead of recycling that wide-mouthed plastic Honest Tea container, pack it, along with a box of Crystal Light Cherry Pomegranate Immunity On the Go or one of its cousins (Antioxidant Blueberry White Tea On the Go, anyone?) Total weight added to your luggage? About 3 ounces. Homeland Security issues? Zero (neither liquid nor gel). So now you check in to your Priceline hotel (one silver lining of recessions: name your own price when you travel), fill up the ice bucket with complimentary ice, pour one packet into the empty plastic container, add water and ice, shake like crazy – and you’ve just saved anywhere from $1 to $12 depending on how you travel. (The packets themselves run around 33 cents* and make the equivalent of two glasses of cold drink that room service would send up at $4 each plus service charge plus tax plus tip plus the time it takes to wait for room service. And don’t get me started on mini-bar charges.) Over a three-day stay, even if you just go down the hall to use the $1.50-a-can vending machine, you could save anywhere from $10 to “real money” on this tip. And avoid the frustration of not having what you want when you want it. The nutritional value is questionable, I grant you. But could these drinks be any worse for you than soft drinks that corrode car bumpers?

*I do understand you could just . . . drink water. And save even the 33 cents. But plain water leaves me with cottonmouth. I need to taste something.

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