Community Roundup: Could TSA Pat-Downs Spread STDs?

Plus, holiday stress and lower weight restrictions for weight loss surgery

Here’s one with a high ick factor: Reports say TSA workers do not routinely change their latex gloves between pat-downs. This might be okay if they were just patting down a coat, but some iVillage members on the Herpes, HPV & Other STDs board wondered whether this practice could spread germs or even STDs if inspectors are touching passengers underneath their clothes and beneath the belt.

Community leader elc11 is cautious, but skeptical. “I would like to hear more about the science and statistical likelihood of spreading disease via gloves. Also, what percentage of pat-downs result in a more invasive search?” Elc11’s husband is a frequent business traveler and, she says, has so far only been searched over the clothes. Still, she says, “I will ask the agent to put on fresh gloves, in front of me, before conducting a pat-down.”

If you’re requested to undergo a pat-down during your next flight, will you request a new pair of gloves? Talk about it on the boards.

Airport security isn’t the only stress of the holiday season. There’s buying all your gifts, decorating your house, dealing with difficult relatives and trying to indulge in delicious food without gaining weight. On the Gym Rats board, members share their tips for staying sane through the rest of the year.

Freshstartnow says she skips supper when she’s going to be attending a holiday party. “Some articles recommend that you DO eat dinner, so you are not hungry. For me, that wouldn't work because even if I eat beforehand, I will still try all of those yummy appetizers and desserts,” she confesses.

Jeanwl avoids crowds at the mall by doing her shopping online. “I can't be bothered to do anything that causes stress. So, that means little shopping in person (love the internet!). I think I'm done with shopping now, except a couple of gift cards I need to pick up,” she says.

Others just try to keep the holiday season in perspective. “I try to do everything joyfully,” says happysj56. “If something becomes stressful, I stop and think about why I am doing it. I am happy to be invited anywhere, and I genuinely love my family and spending this time with them.”

If only we could all be so blissful! Need to get a little more “om” for the holidays? Try out iVillage’s holiday stress-busting yoga poses. What coping strategies have you employed to stay merry throughout the holidays? Join the discussion.

Another hot topic: Weight-loss surgery. Until last week, only the morbidly obese could qualify for Lap Band surgery. But on Friday, the FDA voted to lower the body mass index requirements by five points for getting the procedure.

As we reported this week, at the request of Lap Band’s manufacturer Allergan, the FDA opened up the procedure to anyone with a BMI of 35 or higher (or 30 for those with additional health problems). Previous guidelines stated that only those with a BMI of 40 or more (35 for people with other health issues) could get the surgery. These new rules expand the number of Americans who are eligible for the procedure from 13 million Americans to nearly 32 million.

This week on the Weight Loss Surgery message boards, members are talking about the ramifications of this decision -- namely, whether it help or hurt the ever-growing obesity problem in America. Surprisingly, everyone on the board was unanimously against the FDA’s finding.

“I'm really surprised they lowered the BMI for it. Hopefully, surgeons will have a strict policy and screening for those who are on the lower range, but sometimes it's all about the money for them. I just hope it doesn't become the ‘in’ way to lose weight,” says wlcw.

“I don't agree with this at all. It promotes the idea that the surgery is an easy way to lose weight, which it is not. You have to commit to a complete lifestyle change or this will not be successful. My fear is that insurance companies may go so far as to say this is an elective, cosmetic surgery that shouldn't be paid for with insurance,” says minitease-ts2006.

“I know people who gained weight or weighted their clothes to get approved for surgery,” says aliwag809. “I can't imagine with these lower requirements how many people will do that, who only need to lose a small amount of weight.”

Do you think the FDA’s decision will encourage people to get weight-loss surgery? Does it minimize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle? Chime in below.

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