Is It Bad if You Accidentally Swallow a Bug?

ladybug isolated on white backgroundIt happens every day. You’re out for a run or on your bicycle and an insect lands in your mouth. Besides the ick factor does it harm you?  It depends.  Generally not, but if you are allergic to that particular bug, it can be a problem.  The most common allergy is to wasps or bees.  An allergic reaction can cause you to break out in hives; have swelling in the face, throat or mouth; difficulty breathing; dizziness; a drop in blood pressure; and even cardiac arrest. If you know that you are allergic to bees and wasps and are doing any outdoor activity, make sure you carry your EpiPen  to counteract the symptoms.

Most people get bit or stung during the summer months. I usually get bit by spiders because I’m in the garden moving dirt.  The last time I was bitten by a critter part of my foot swelled and it lasted for 3 days.  Swallowing a bug now and then probably won’t be a problem for most.

Other Situations Where You Can Encounter Bugs:

  • Your pets can be a source of fleas.  Eating fleas is a common way to get the double-pored dog tapeworm. Keep your pets free of fleas and other bugs by bringing them in for regular checkups at the vet.
  • Dry goods in your cupboards can be a source of bugs.  Ingesting beetles, even if they are dead, can transmit the dwarf tapeworm. Keep beetles out of your dry cereals, flour and grains and store them in airtight containers.

Some people believe that swallowing an occasional live bug adds to their protein intake. Good theory, but it won’t make a difference for the occasional bug.   If you think they are a good source of protein, you are not alone; in some countries bugs are considered a delicacy.  For the rest of us, it is advised to cook your bugs first before you eat them!


Source: Wall Street Journal




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Wash Your New Clothes Before Wearing Them

Red lacy lingerie on black background

Most people don’t think about where an item of new clothing has been before it comes into their possession.  It is exciting the first time you wear a new article of clothing;  it looks fresh and the fabric is perfect.  It seems a shame to launder it before you wear it; it does not look the same after that first wash.  But beware, most garments are not made in the USA where certain standards have to be conformed to and can be labeled one country of origin but maybe not all the steps to make that garment were performed in one place!   The fabric could have been made in one location, then dyed in another and stitched together in a third, each with varying laws about allowable levels of chemical use and quality control.

Here are a few reasons to wash those clothes before you wear them:

1. Itchy, Scaly, Red Skin

There are two major culprits when it comes to allergic reactions to new clothing: dye and formaldehyde resin.

Until much of the dye is rinsed out — usually in more than one washing — some wearers might notice red, itchy, scaly rashes, especially near the areas where there is friction or sweating.

Formaldehyde resins are used to prevent cotton-polyester blends from wrinkling and to limit mildew.

Allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis, forms of eczema, can be caused by wearing fabrics containing the anti-wrinkle chemical.

2. Hidden Surprises

You never know what sorts of germs or mites can be living in the confines of the weave.  You don’t know how they were transported, how long they sat there, who made their home in them.

There have been cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on in the store; or catching a ride in transit and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing.

3. Hot in Here

Many factories pack chemical satchels into boxes or bags to absorb moisture during the shipping process and to keep fungus from growing especially when it is humid.  But, fungus can hang around for a while and you may be the unlucky one to put that garment next to your skin.

It is better to be smart and wash your clothes a couple of times before you wear them.  With international commerce, safeguard your skin and limit your exposure to unwanted guests, bacteria and irritation.

Source: Wall Street Journal, 5/19/15
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Fun In the Sun With Sunscreen

Woman using sun cream on the beach

In spite of more than three decades of public information campaigns created to build awareness of the risks of UV radiation, people continue to expose their unprotected skin to the sun.  Go to the beach and the pool and most people are not under an umbrella, they  are sunning themselves.  I bet more than half of them do not have sunscreen on.

Wearing a minimum of SPF 30 especially in warm climates is important but most  women do not begin using sunscreen until after age 25 and for many men they don’t start using it until after they have had a cancer scare.

There is a  long list of excuses not to use adequate sun protection:

“Sunscreen irritates my skin and it feels too greasy.”

There are 2 types of sunscreen:  physical and chemical.  Physical sunscreen is good for sensitive skin and contains the oxides:  Titanium and Zinc.  They may feel greasier than a chemical sunscreen but current technology involving plant oleosomes has enabled the creation of high SPF sunscreens without a greasy skin feel.  This is true for the chemical sunscreens such as Oxybenzone and Avobenzone which absorb UV radiation and  have the reputation of being irritating.  The new technology makes them less irritating too.

“Applying sunscreen is just another step, and I don’t have time.”

Tinted moisturizers with an SPF are an option for women who typically do not wear makeup or are in a rush.  There are several on the market that have a SPF as high as 50 that do not irritate the skin.

“I spend most of my times indoors.”

This is my favorite excuse.  If you don’t live in a cave and don’t venture out, you are exposed to the sun. Even though temperatures may drop and skies become cloudy, the amount of UV that reaches the Earth remains the same all year, regardless of the weather.  It is just as dangerous in snowy climates; if you’ve been outside doing an outdoor activity in the snow your face gets red.  Driving in your car also exposes you to rays.

“It is in my makeup; isn’t that enough?”

This is also a common excuse.  Most makeup does not have enough sunscreen to make a difference.  To boost it, first apply a moisturizer with a SPF 30 under the makeup and have two lines of defense.

Remember, it is never to late to adopt good sunscreen habits.  Even if you have convinced yourself that what you use is enough, your skin is the ultimate truth-teller.  Visit your esthetician for regular facials and sunscreen recommendations and your dermatologist for skin cancer checks.

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