Thursday, February 03, 2005

Nosocomially yours - UPDATE

Do you know, I think I'm falling in love with bacteria a bit. They are so interesting, and have such different, er, personality traits! Some of them look downright cute, like Clostridium tetani, which looks like a tennis racquet because of its endospore. Things are slowly falling into place, I'm starting to believe I may yet learn something during this degree.

Don't forget to wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly, beware of surfaces where you placed raw meat (your kitchen sink may have more pathogens than the toilet bowl) - and DON'T handle raw meat and touch anything else, have different cutting boards for meat and everything else [thanks Scully!], wash your hands often WITH SOAP and don't forget the faucet you just contaminated, scrub under your nails, don't start taking antibiotics just because, especially if you have the flu because it's VIRAL and it will not do a thing but fuck up your immunity and increase bacterial resistance to medication chances are you WILL need some day.

Are your tetanus shots updated? You do not want to mess with tetanus, believe me, the bacteria may look cute but this is how you die and no doctor will be able to help you. Your jaw will lock, first of all ("lockjaw"), and then slowly, as the toxins travel the neuropaths, all the muscles you usually control will seize up (this is no exaggeration). You will experience severe, painful spasms. You then, also slowly, suffocate because you can't DECIDE to breathe anymore, that's no longer your voluntary option. Very, very painful. Hardly anyone survives. How does this happen, you ask? I'M SO GLAD YOU DID! Small puncture wounds or abrasions (scraped skin) become contaminated, especially if dirty, with C. tetani's spores, which germinate and produce the toxins - it's the toxins that the bacteria produce that kill, actually, not the bacteria per se. The infection remains very often localised and with little inflammation, don't think you'll be alerted by the sight of a huge wound. And you will NOT have much time. If you've never been vaccinated, doing it AFTER the injury will NOT help you, it takes a while for immunity to develop. You need TETANUS IMMUNOGLOBULINS, which have an immediate, short-term effect. You will also STILL need the vaccine for long-term immunisation. If you were vaccinated over five years ago you will need a booster.

One to three shots (depends on which vaccine), at least 10 years of peace of mind, isn't it worth it? So don't be daft, protect yourself and most importantly, your kids.

This was your friendly medical announcement for the day. Now go out and do something dirty in a non-pathogenically related way. Shagging is allowed but remember that paragraph up there? RAW MEAT MAY KILL YOU, so make sure to wrap everything encondomly first should you choose to keep it casual. Resist TEMPTATION in any way you can!

[TG, the title is for you. Turn on your cell phone already!]

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At 3/2/05 17:46, Blogger Ana said...

Just so you know, they do ask mommies who go vaccinate their children if they have their own vaccines updated. That's why I got my tetanus vaccine a year ago.

At 3/2/05 17:48, Blogger Ana said...

Oh and, since I am trying to get pregnant, I'll take my chances with the raw meat.

At 3/2/05 17:55, Blogger The Lioness said...

Ana, :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!! I also hear hanging from the chandelier is very pg-conducive. Do try.

At 3/2/05 18:13, Blogger Ana said...

Why oh why don't I have a chandelier. I will start standing on my head soon. Though since the problem is not as much getting pregnant as staying pregnant, I would have to stand on my head for far longer than I think I would be able to.
Can you tell I'm inspired today!

At 3/2/05 18:20, Blogger The Lioness said...

Right, too stupid of me, what was i thinking??? So here's my suggestion: you know how many Catholicas have a tripticum depicting Catholic scenes above their beds? Replace that with the nicest, most attention-drawing lamp you can find in any "All for a $1" store - I'd aim for the glow-in-the-dark, multi-colored, fake velvet-covered ones - and GLUE it to the wall. That way you will have the reverse chandelier-hanging effect AND your bedroom will look that much more fashionable and improved.

At 3/2/05 21:22, Blogger Scully said...

I don't have to worry about remembering to get my tetanus shot. I usually end up injuring myself in someway that requires a tetanus shot. And I usually do it about every 10 years.

Scary pictures.

Some people just don't understand the ramifications of not be diligent about being clean and clean in the kitchen particularly with raw meat. It's very very important to have a separate cutting board for meat and for other things and to clean and to use bleach. You don't need the fancy bleach wipes. A solution of bleach and hot water will suffice. I bleach my sink out every time I wash the dishes and I use bleach in my bathroom.


At 3/2/05 21:24, Blogger The Lioness said...

Scully, thanks! I actually wanted to mention the boards and forgot! Orthodox Jews are definitely onto something w fleishig and milchig, yes.

At 4/2/05 06:43, Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

You didn't even touch on the wonderful world of streptococcus bacteria. A girl at work recently had a nasty strep infection that attacked her joints and soft tissue...she swelled up like an overstuffed turkey.

At 4/2/05 07:23, Blogger elswhere said...

I once ate a whole raw hamburger at a barbecue in our backyard, back in the '70's. I said to Savtadotty, "I bet I can eat a whole raw hamburger. Wanna see?" and picked up one of the glistening red meat patties waiting to be grilled.

It was really good, and I didn't get sick. But if my kid tried to do it I'd wrest the burger out of her hands.

At 4/2/05 08:38, Blogger angela said...

hehe science is so great :P

your bringing out my hyperchondriac-ness though :-/

very informative.. i will take great care :P

At 4/2/05 14:20, Blogger Savtadotty said...

I don't remember elswhere eating the raw hamburger, but in those days I enjoyed an occasional steak tartare myself. Lucky the bacteria were on vacation. Please don't tell me it's all over for sushi too.

At 4/2/05 14:39, Blogger The Lioness said...

Lord C., I can't mention them all can I?
E. and S., I've head steak tartare myself, never had sushi, LOVE fresh goat/sheep cheese, I suppose it's a case of eating and praying (bacteria AND parasites). Oh well...

At 4/2/05 16:15, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Wow! come for the stories and get an education. Pretty good.

At 5/2/05 08:53, Blogger Jen P said...

Lioness, I had a suspected case of Tetnus, which caused lockjaw (had to have steroid shots to the jaw 3 times a day for 3 days -- no fun!!!), my thigh joints (where your thigh moves to spread your legs???) locked in place and I had lumps the size of golf balls on both thighs. I had a horrid fever and was throwing up for a few days non-stop. (I had stepped on a razor blade)

They didn't give the injection (as you said, it's worthless once you've 'got it') and treated it fiercely with antibiotics but I never had muscle spasms that violent (only like minor spasms that caused my muscles to contrict and then release) so I'm wondering if it was misdiagnosed and I need to get the vax at some point? Are there different Tetnus bugs that could make you sick in different ways? Or do you think it was another evil bug?

I'm very interested in this, as per the usual, and can't wait to learn more about what you're learning!!

Hope you're doing well. best wishes


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