The next time you pay a visit to your doctor (assuming it's a man), you may want to ask him when was the last time he had his tie cleaned, according to a British report about combating staph infections (MRSA) in hospitals.
The report, released by the British Medical Association, urges physicians to stop wearing ties because people rarely have them cleaned, meaning they could be an ideal source of infection.
Sounds pretty insignificant, until you take into account some 300,000 patients in Britain alone contract infections every year -- about 9 percent of the patient population in a hospital at any given time.
Even more interesting is that a 15 percent decrease in infections in British hospitals would result in a savings of more than $250 million a year to the British health system, not an insignificant sum by any stretch of the imagination.
Of course, there's no question the best thing anyone can do to prevent the spread of viruses, MRSA and other bugs is also the simplest: Washing your hands with plain soap and water.
With that in mind, I urge you to stay away from antibacterial soaps containing synthetic chemicals like triclosan that create germs resistant to antibiotics and soaps over the long haul.
Other possible natural antibacterial agents are essential oils.