Posts Tagged With: health

Fatal Parasite Found in Fresh Water in the U.S.


<<This entire been re-posted in its entirety from: Web MD  Pictures were inserted by me>>

It doesn’t happen often. But most summers, several Americans — usually healthy, young people — suffer sudden, tragic deaths from brain-eating amoeba. What is this scary bug? How does it get to the brain? Where is it and how can I avoid it? WebMD answers these and other questions.

Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri

What Is a Brain-Eating Amoeba?

Amoebas are single-celled organisms. The so-called brain-eating amoeba is a species discovered in 1965. It’s formal name is Naegleria fowleri. Although first identified in Australia, this amoeba is believed to have evolved in the U.S. There are several species of Naegleria but only the fowleri species causes human disease. There are several fowleri subtypes. All are believed equally dangerous. N. fowleri is microscopic: 8 micrometers to 15 micrometers in size, depending on its life stage and environment. By comparison, a hair is 40 to 50 micrometers wide.

     Inserted by Deb P: The diameter of human hair varies from about 40 microns to 120 microns. A micron or micrometer is a millionth of a meter. Copy paper thickness is about 100 microns (or 0.1 millimeter). Pasted from <>

Like other amoebas, Naegleria reproduces by cell division. When conditions aren’t right, the amoebas become inactive cysts. When conditions are favorable, the cysts turn into trophozoites — the feeding form of the amoeba. To reach their food, N. fowleri trophozoites temporarily grow tails (flagella) that allow them to swim. In this form they cannot eat, so they soon go back to the trophozoite stage.

Where Are Brain-Eating Amoebas Found?

Naegleria loves very warm water. It can survive in water as hot as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. These amoebas can be found in warm places around the globe. N. fowleri is found in:

  • Warm lakes, ponds, and rock pits
  • Mud puddles
  • Warm, slow-flowing rivers, especially those with low water levels
  • Untreated swimming pools and spas
  • Untreated well water or untreated municipal water
  • Hot springs and other geothermal water sources
  • Thermally polluted water, such as runoff from power plants
  • Aquariums
  • Soil, including indoor dust

Naegleria can’t live in salt water. It can’t survive in properly treated swimming pools or in properly treated municipal water. Most cases of N. fowleri disease occur in Southern or Southwestern states. Over half of all infections have been in Florida and Texas.

How Do People Get Infected With Brain-Eating Amoeba?

The term “brain-eating amoeba” makes the amoeba sound like a tiny zombie stalking your skull. But brains are accidental food for them. According to the CDC, N. fowleri normally eats bacteria. But when the amoeba gets into humans, it uses the brain as a food source. The good news is that if you were to drink a glass of water infested with N. fowleri amoeba, you would not get a brain infection. It infects people by getting into your nose. This happens most often when people are diving, water skiing, or performing water sports in which water is forced into the nose. But infections have occurred in people who dunked their heads in hot springs or who cleaned their nostrils with neti pots filled with untreated tap water. A person infected with N. fowleri amoeba cannot spread the infection to another person.

How Do Amoebas Get in the Brain?

Studies suggest that N. fowleri amoebas are attracted to the chemicals that nerve cells use to communicate with one another. Once in the nose, the amoebas travel through the olfactory nerve (the nerve connected with sense of smell) into the frontal lobe of the brain. brain-labeled-lobes1-e1375669542919

How Frequently Do People Get Infected by Brain-Eating Amoeba?

Even though N. fowleri amoebas are relatively common, they only rarely cause brain disease. N. fowleri disease is known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). It occurs from zero to eight times a year, almost always from July to September. It’s considered a rare infection. But some cases may be unreported. A study in Virginia that looked at more than 16,000 autopsy records from patients who died of meningitis found five previously unreported cases of PAM. Studies show that many people may have antibodies to N. fowleri. That suggests that they became infected with the amoeba but that their immune systems fought it off. It’s not at all clear whether N. fowleri is a rare infection that always causes PAM and is almost always fatal, or a more common infection that only sometimes causes PAM. In a 2009 study, CDC researchers suggested that the common finding of antibodies to the amoeba in humans and the frequent finding of N. fowleri in U.S. waters indicates “that exposure to the amoeba is much more common than the incidence of PAM suggests.”

How Long Until Symptoms of Brain-Eating Amoeba Appear?

It takes two to 15 days for symptoms to appear after N. fowleri amoebas enter the nose. Death usually occurs three to seven days after symptoms appear. The average time to death is 5.3 days from symptom onset. Only a handful of patients worldwide have been reported to have survived an infection.

What Are the First Symptoms Someone Might Have?

Symptoms of PAM are not specific to this disease. At first, PAM may seem like viral meningitis. Symptoms include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • stiff neck
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • altered mental state
  • seizures
  • coma

There may also be hallucinations, drooping eyelid, blurred vision, and loss of the sense of taste.

Is There a Treatment for Infection With Brain-Eating Amoeba?

The right treatment isn’t clear. A number of drugs kill N. fowleri amoebas in the test tube. But even when treated with these drugs, very few patients survive.

Is There a Rapid Test for Infection With Brain-Eating Amoeba?

There is no rapid test for infection with brain-eating amoeba. But researchers are working to develop one. Until such tests come along, it can take weeks to identify the amoeba.

How Do Amoebas Dissolve Brain Tissue?

One study suggests that N. fowleri amoebas produce two proteases — enzymes that dissolve protein. There is also evidence that this particular species of amoeba is attracted to the olfactory nerve and then to the brain by the chemical messengers nerve and brain cells use to communicate with one another.

Are Certain Groups Affected More Than Others?

Over 60% of U.S. cases are in children age 13 or younger. About 80% of cases are in males. It’s not at all clear whether children or males are more susceptible to the amoeba, or whether young males are more likely to engage in activities that expose them to the amoeba.

How Can I Protect Myself Against Brain-Eating Amoeba?

It makes sense to avoid swimming underwater, diving, water skiing, and jumping in warm, still waters during the late summer. It also makes sense to wear a nose clip when swimming, boating, or playing in or on warm waters. It’s also a good idea to avoid stirring up mud while taking part in such activities. And if you are cleansing your nostrils, be sure to fill your neti pot or squeeze bottle with distilled or sterile water and not tap water. You can also use water that has been boiled for one minute (three minutes at high elevations) and then cooled. And you can filter the water using filters with pores no larger than 1 micron (1 micrometer).

Categories: 2013, Health & Well-Being | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking for Life’s Passion

For quite a while my quest has been to find my life’s passion. I remember when I used to have a passion for life. It seems a distant lifetime ago. Nevertheless, I remember. I awakened each day with purpose, joy, and excitement about beginning my day. I can remember wanting something, or deciding to do something, and almost without effort, I either figured out a way to get it or it just happened. Despite those annoying problems that plague all of us, things just seemed to fall into place. Looking back, I feel almost a sense of mourning. Somewhere along the line, I lost it, or perhaps it did die away. Whichever it was, I surely do not have it now.

I want it back! I want that happiness, excitement, that nearly breathless anticipation. I have looked everywhere and I cannot find it. Yet, I know it exists. But where can it possibly be found?

I decided to look on the Internet. After all, it has everything, right? I figured that the first thing I needed were affirmations. Not those corny ones you sometimes come across, but the ones that resonate with me – with my soul. I came across free recorded affirmations by Vic Johnson. For days on end, I listened to them day and night. But I needed more. This was good, but not enough!

I was still thinking, “if only my husband would… if I made more money… if I could just get it together… or do more”. I really felt that I needed to change my behavior. So I made a list of “Things To Do” each day, starting with when I got up including breakfast, vitamins, exercise, schedule time for writing, etc. You get the idea. If I could just work towards this, all would be fine. I just needed discipline.

However, it did not work. Even if I did ALL of the things on my list I still was not satisfied. I found no joy in doing any of it. I found myself constantly policing myself and chastising myself which lead to more guilt than I had to start with! This was not the answer.

I looked into more affirmations, even ‘Googled’ “finding life’s passion” and “finding my life’s purpose”. I found some interesting things, but I did not hold out a lot of hope. Something KEY was missing and I could not seem to find it. This was becoming exhausting physically as well as emotionally.

I liked the affirmations I got from Vic Johnson so I ‘Googled’ him. I found his site:

Vic Johnson

At the top of the page, right in the center, it had:

Free eBook – As A Man Thinketh

Change Your Thoughts,
Change Your Life

Many, many years ago – during that other lifetime – I had read some writings by Norman Vincent Peale. I remembered that a certain passage really hit home with me and I had made a small poster to hang on the refrigerator where I would see it each day and remember to put it into practice. That passage was “Change Your Thoughts and You Change Your World”! That alone excited me! Never mind that I could not remember how it worked exactly, but I KNEW it did!

I went ahead and downloaded the free eBook, “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen.

This book “is partly responsible for the creation of the entire personal development industry. Most contemporary PD authors and teachers credit this little book for providing foundation to their principles. It is a set of philosophical musings on the power of our thoughts. Earl Nightingale, widely regarded as the father of modern day personal development, in his best-selling recording, called the ideas in this book, ‘The Strangest Secret’. The secret, he said, is ‘we become what we think about’.”1

Now this may sound foreign to you, trivial, or even like downright wishful thinking. Nevertheless, bear with me. I can tell you that if you learn about this AND put it into practice, it will totally change your life! I can say this because it sure is making a difference in mine!

As A Man Thinketh eBookSo head on over to and get your FREE eBook, “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. This book  was written over 100 years ago! The words of wisdom in this book are every bit as relevant today as when it was published in 1903.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

1As A Man Thinketh (dot) net, Vic Johnson, founder. Quote by Earl Nightingale.


Categories: 2012, Inspirational/Motivational | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Time It Almost Cost Me My Life!

Clostridium difficile It’s been a so long since I’ve been here. I feel like I’ve abandoned my blog.

But that is not the case.

I hadn’t been feeling well for a while. Nothing I could put my finger on. No specific complaints…. at first.

Then about eight weeks ago I got a sinus infection with an infected ear as well. No big deal. Dr gave me antibiotic. It was Zithromax. If you’re not familiar with it, this antibiotic is an excellent one, with only five days of dosing. (I love that:  Two on the first day followed by one a day for five days! )

All was great until the fourth day.  Although I’ve taken this medicine before with no problems; this time was much, much different. Suddenly I started having horrible bouts of diarrhea. (Yep, I’m actually talking about THAT! But bear with me because you are not gonna believe what happens over the next eight weeks!)

I called the doctor &, of course, she said to discontinue the medicine. Ok. I’ll be fine in a day or so. Or so I thought.  TEN days later, it’s the same situation! So I thought that since the antibiotic actually continues to work for ten days, that’s what was causing all this. And, what do you know, after about twelve days it’s gone & I’m fine. YAY!

I was good for about four days. Then it all started again. What the heck? Now I was taking Imodium regularly. I closely examined what I’d been eating & what I was taking as far as medicines, supplements, etc. Then I, in my infinite wisdom, decided that this episode was due to the fact that when I first became sick I hadn’t ordered one of my supplements that I’ve been taking for so long I didn’t even remember how long I’d been on it. It had to be a withdrawal symptom from not having it. (Hey, it’s possible!)

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that I was a Nurse many years ago & that we, in general, are NOT good patients. We love to diagnose ourselves, treat ourselves, & don’t like to bother the doctor too much. Well this time it almost cost me my life!

So I ordered the supplement & began to take it. Viola! The diarrhea subsides. Feeling rather smug, I proclaimed to family & friends that I was better.

Until it started AGAIN & this time it didn’t stop! By now every time I ate, I was running to the bathroom. Eventually even a bite of food sent me running. But at least I was drinking fluids!  I realized that I was losing more fluids than I was taking in so I drank lots & got some Gatorade too. All the things they tell you to do. And I was still taking the Imodium. But taking way more than I should. Which I DO NOT recommend anyone doing! There are serious side effects when you take more than directed. But by this time I wasn’t thinking right. I’d gone through many boxes of this stuff since this all started. It didn’t help at all now.

I called the doctor again. She ordered a lab test for C-Diff & blood cultures. The C-Diff comes back negative. Blood cultures were clean, no bacteria. Well that’s good.

I waited for another two weeks & went to the ER. They hung one bag of fluid (think I could have used about five, seriously!). They did another test for C-Diff & cultured my blood, again & sent me home. A few days later they called to give me the results:  C-Diff was negative & blood cultures were clean. They told me I might want to try some Imodium. Gee thanks. The ER doctor said he would treat me for C-Diff anyway because sometimes it just doesn’t show up in someone has had diarrhea for so long. He prescribed another antibiotic, Flagyl.

So I was drinking the liquids & taking the med. NOTHING was helping. I’m weak. I know I’ve lost a good bit of weight but will probably just gain it all back when I’m able to replace the water. (Darn!)

Another week goes by.  I had become so weak. Not taking fluids well. All I want to do is sleep. I didn’t know what was wrong with me & I didn’t care – Just fix me!

After I’ve slept straight for a day & a half, hubby called the doctor & talked to her personally. She said to go to the ER & tell them she wanted me to be admitted. That’s all well & good but she’s not on staff at the nearest hospital. So they say, “We’ll see.”

They did all the tests again. Same results. But this time they did other labs plus an CT scan of my abdomen. My pancreas was enlarged & my pancreatic enzymes were elevated quite a bit — Diagnosis:  Pancreatitis!  I’m admitted to hospital. The only problem is I didn’t have ANY of the symptoms of pancreatitis! My admitting doctor thought that was weird too. So he decided to dig a little deeper,  do some blood cultures & do some additional tests as well. By now they’d mostly stopped the diarrhea, but I was so dehydrated that they were concerned about my heart!  I was put on a heart monitor & given major doses of potassium via IV as well as some magnesium.

My admitting doctor called for a consult with a surgeon to do a colonoscopy, which Id never had before. I wasn’t thrilled but we had to know what was going on in there. It really wasn’t bad at all. They have this wonderful med they give you & the next thing you know, you wake up in the Recovery Room.

The surgeon came in the next day & gave me the news along with full color photos… I have ulcerative colitis! I was sure he had to be mistaken. But then again, there were the pictures &  he’d taken biopsies to confirm exactly what type of colitis it was & those would be back in a few days.

How does this happen? Why? Why now? I never had anything like this before. If anything I’ve always worried about an opposite kind of problems.  Good Grief!  I cried.

UPDATE: I’m better now but tired a lot of the time. Even after I was re-hydrated I’ve lost a total of 23 pounds. It IS ulcerative colitis. I’m still learning about this whole thing. I’ve found out that now I’m allergic to eggs & dairy products although I’ve eaten them all my life without incident. It’s very strange to have your body suddenly change. They say they don’t know why this happens. It can start as a child & sometimes stop in adulthood. Or it can start out of nowhere when you are  a mature adult & just stay.

I found out after I was home for a few days that the doctor had told my family that if I had not gone to the ER that day, I probably would not have made it through the night. <Gulp!>

Categories: Health & Well-Being | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why You Should Drink More Coffee!



I’m pretty sure I already do that!

I found this today as I was cruising my social networks & it made me chuckle so, of course, I wanted to share it with you!

(I have no idea who the author/creator is. Nor does my friend. If anyone knows, please let me know & I’ll gladly give proper credit.)


Did you know that they have found that drinking coffee many actually be GOOD for you?

According to a 10-year study recently conducted in Stockholm, Sweden drinking a cup or two of coffee every day may have some very important health benefits, especially for women middle-aged & up (ages 49-83).

Coffee has been shown to cut stroke risks as much as 25%. Other benefits include: reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, as well as reducing the risk of developing liver cancer & diabetes; & improving insulin efficiency.

These findings could actually help women in these age groups save money on their health insurance!

Read more about the Swedish Study here:

An American study confirms these findings:

The American study looked at the effect of coffee consumption on the health of a group of more than 67,000 women over the course of 26 years.

It should be noted that it is believed that the benefits derived from coffee are thought to come from the antioxidant properties of coffee, not the caffeine. So decaf coffee would be as beneficial, if not more so, than regular coffee.


So, put on a pot, or head on over to Starbucks.  Mmmmmm….

Categories: Health & Well-Being, Humorous | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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