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bug bites matter

It starts with a simple pinch, prick or touch that leads to itching, scratching and annoying pain.  But which bug bites should you worry about?  Here's a few simple tips to keep in mind when bugs bite.

MosquitoThe Mosquito - Typically pretty harmless bite producing a small red, round bump with itching and some irritation. 

Why you should care? Mosquito bites can spread the West Nile virus but it's only in 1% of the cases and extremely rare.  If a mosquito bite starts to burn or blister 5 to 15 days after a typical mosquito bite. Other symptoms include fever, swollen glands, skin rash and head and body aches.  A severe case may lead to encephalitis, high fever and convulsions. 

Bed BugsBed Bugs - You wouldn't feel these buggers when they are lying next to you, but you'll feel the itchy, reaction 24 hours and up to 3 days later.  Their saliva is what most people is allergic to rather than the bug bite.  

Why you should care? Bed bugs are mainly active at night and feed on the host - you!  So clean cool bedding should prevail.  

spider bitesSpider Bites - There are only a few species of spiders that are deadly in the United States.  A typical spider bite may or may not be painful but within 30-40 minutes, a redness or swollen area may appear.  

Why you should care?  Brown recluse spider bites are rare but some people feel a small sting followed immediately by a sharp pain, while others don't realize they've gotten a bug bite until hours later — in four to eight hours If you are unsure where or when the bite occurred and experience severe pain, abdominal cramping or a growing ulcer at the bite site, you should seek medical attention.  Other severe reactions include loss of consciousness and breath.  



Knee Surgeries May Not Work Losing weight may be the best way to eliminate knee pain. A recent study showed that arthroscopic surgeries may not alleviate knee pain down the line.

In a review of many different studies on arthroscopic knee surgery, as little as three months after surgery, patients claimed reoccurring knee pain. Moreover, surgery can have dangerous side-effects including blood clots and infection that could lead to more serious conditions. There are more than 4 million knee arthroscopy procedures done worldwide with 700,000 of them in the U.S. alone according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

105 X 115
"Some of this is patient demand,"
Dr. David Teuscher, President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shares knee pain has become very common with more than 5.7 million visits to the doctor for knee pain each year. But losing weight may be the key to eliminating many types of knee pain. Knees support the bulk of the weight on the body and for even a 5 pound weight loss can reduce pressure in the knee up to 5 times or 25 pounds of weight.

Even pain relievers like acetaminophen do not help with knee pain caused by arthritis. Strengthening the muscles around the joint is suggested.



It looks like a solution has been found for the growing problem of antibiotic resistance - and the cure might all come down to an ancient Viking drink!

Scientists in Sweden have formulated a new drink derived from a “mead” recipe. For those who don't know, mead is an alcoholic beverage made of honey and water that was apparently a favorite of the Vikings and considered a cure for many ails even back then!

The new beverage, known as Honey Hunter’s Elixir, contains lactic-acid bacteria and wild yeasts that in previous studies have been found to be effective against resistant pathogens. Unlike  in commercial honey, the pathogen-killing bacteria and yeasts are not sterilized so that drinkers can reap the full health benefits.

While more tests and research have to be conducted, we are pretty excited about what this breakthrough could mean for global health and countries where antibiotics are not readily available!

We'll drink to that. 

Migraines No Side Effects

Migraines are a common disease that affect 36 million people in the United States. About 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men suffer from migraines. They are the epitome of the common headache. Migraines can be triggered by a lot of different things including hormonal changes in women, food, drinks, stress, and changes in one’s wake-sleep patterns.

Most migraines involve the trigeminal nerve. This nerve’s primary responsibility is for transmitting sensations from the face to the brain. Its superior (highest part) branch ends at the exit of the eye socket, underneath the skin of the forehead. This is why light flickers may accompany migraines as well as facial pain.

The FDA recently approved Cefaly, a certified medical device that is designed to help treat and prevent migraine headaches. Cefaly can considerably reduce or replace the side effects from traditional migraine medications. It is the first electrotherapeutic device to acquire medical certification proven effective on migraine pain with no side effects.

Migraine mini
How it works: An adhesive electrode is positioned on the forehead and Cefaly connects to this. Through the electrode, Cefaly generates precise micro-impulses in order to stimulate the nerve endings of the trigeminal nerve. It is also safe for pregnant women to use.

With many people wanting to avoid taking daily medications to prevent migraines, this may be an option.


 Hand Grows BiohazardPhoto Credit: Microbe World

Moms sometimes bring work home with them and microbiologist Tasha Sturm of Cabrillo College recently brought home a petri dish as a mini experiment. She took her eight-year-old son’s hand and placed it into the dish. Next she let it incubate for 48 hours and then photographed it yet a few days later.

What she found was normal flora on the hand like Staph., Micrococcus, etc. but as the flora continued to grow (slowly), yeast/fungi  started to grow and helped bacteria like Serratia turn red.

"At the end of the experiment she had a small 'Biohaz' which needed to be disposed of properly."

On the science website Microbe World, Sturm explained her process:

"I used a large Kirby Bauer plate (15 x 150 mm) with TSA… Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA) can be purchased through a number of companies (Fisher Scientific, Hardy Diagnostics, Neogen). Most sell it in the powdered form, add water, autoclave, cool to about 55 degrees then pour into the plate, cover with the lid then let solidify. Once the plates are cool then place the hand on the plate making sure to gently pressing the fingers/palm to make contact with the agar. Cover the plate with the lid and place in a 37 degree C incubator for 24-48 hrs… incubate agar side up.

This will grow the normal flora on the hand like Staph.,Micrococcus, etc. Take the plate out and let it incubate/set out with the lid on at room temp (22 degrees C) for several days (3+ days). Normal flora will continue to grow (slowly) and yeast/fungi will start to grow…. usually colored colonies (red/pink/yellow). It will also help bacteria like Serratia turn red. Once grown the plate should be treated as a Biohaz and disposed of properly. The plate should not be opened if mold/fungi is present without proper respiratory protection."

Source: microbeworld.org