darkoshi: (Default)
The day before yesterday, there was a tickle at the bottom of my leg, and I found a flea. I grabbed it, and unsure of what to do, held it in a stream of water at the bathroom faucet for a long time. Then I let the water wash it down the drain, and ran the water for a while longer. I was afraid it might still be alive, and might jump back out.

In the past when we had cats, I remembered submerging any caught fleas into a cup of water mixed with dishwashing liquid to drown them.

Yesterday evening, it happened again, in the same bathroom. I don't remember ever finding fleas in the house before*, so I believe it was the same flea. This time, I took it to the kitchen, dumped some water and dishwashing liquid into a plastic container, and held it submerged in that for a while before letting go.

(Feeling the flea struggling in my grasp. Trying to drown the poor thing a second time, after it survived the first traumatic attempt. I'm such a bad person. Life is so cruel. I don't like killing, but fleas are one of the few things that I long ago decided should always be killed, because of the severe misery they can inflict on other beings, and because there's no way to peacefully coexist with them.)

This morning, the flea was motionless at the bottom of the container. But now I don't trust dumping it down the drain again. And I don't want to dump it in the yard. So I considered dumping it outside the fence, to be on the safe side.

But first... how long does it take a flea to drown? The answers given on this page are rather scary:

Can dish soap really be used to kill ticks and fleas?

Now I've decided to leave the flea soaking for at least another day.

*Our dogs have been at Qiao's house the past week rather than here. But I've been going over to feed the neighbor's dogs this last week, while they were away on a trip. One of their dogs had a bad flea problem in the past from what they told me, so I think the flea must have jumped on me while I was in their yard. Although I didn't notice their dogs scratching much while I was there.
darkoshi: (Default)
According to this page:
"The fact of the matter is by the time your water has reached boiling point (212°F / 100°C) all pathogens have already been killed! As a precautionary measure you may wish to boil for a full minute just to be safe. The time it takes for your water to reach a boil and then cool down is more than enough time to kill all harmful organisms that could make you sick.

To be safe you may wish to follow the advice of the US Environmental Protection Agency which recommends boiling for 1 full minute, or 3 minutes if you are 2000 meters above ground level"

According to this page:
If your well tests positive for E. coli, you should boil the water for at least one minute at a rolling boil before drinking it.

According to this page:
After the boil water advisory is lifted, will the water heater be contaminated?
A possibility exists, albeit small, that a pathogen may contaminate a water heater and survive (in a few cases, even grow), if the hot water temperature is maintained at 120°F or lower. However, because hot water directly from the water heater is usually not ingested, this should not be a safety concern. A water temperature of 140°F for a half hour should kill virtually any pathogens (including Legionella) in the water heater.

This page has info on Boil Water Orders/Advisories.

According to this page:
boiling does not kill ALL the bacteria, just MOST of them. Some bacteria are actually resistant to the temperature of boiling water (100 degrees C.). To kill all the bacteria, you need to raise the temperature to about 121 degrees C. To get water to this temperature, you must heat it under pressure. (You cannot heat boiling water in an open pot to anything over 100 degrees C.). In science labs, we use something called an autoclave to do this; at home you might have a pressure cooker in the kitchen.
darkoshi: (Default)
These are some of my initial thoughts on the reports of brain-eating amoeba danger from neti-pot use.

"If you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses, for example, by using a neti pot, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution," Louisiana State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard said in a statement.

Dang, that sucks. Using a neti pot is enough of a hassle (when I do it) using tap water. Having to buy and store distilled water, and heat it to the right temperature first (rather than turning on the hot & cold water taps), would make it even more of a hassle.

I suppose that heating the water in the microwave wouldn't be as much hassle as heating it on the stove, at least. But if you get it too hot, you can't just pour in extra cold tap water to cool it down... you'd have to either wait for it to cool, or cool it off with more of the precious store-bought distilled water.

Sometimes store-bought distilled water smells like plastic from the containers it is stored in. Pouring plastic-smelling water through ones nose likely isn't good for you either.

If you use boiled water instead of distilled, how long do you have to boil the water for it to be safe?

"The amoeba, formally known as Naegleria fowleri, destroys brain tissue and kills victims in about one to 12 days"

Death in 1 to 12 days... that doesn't sound so bad. Compared to other possible deaths, anyway.

What's the likelihood of coming down with a case of brain-eating amoebas from using tap-water neti, compared to the likelihood of getting into a bad car-cash?

When I'm horribly sick with a cold and runny/congested nose, am I really going to care about the obscure possibility of brain-eating amoebas?

The amoeba is usually found in freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds and does not normally survive the water-treatment process, Live Science reports. It must enter the body through the nasal cavity; it cannot be ingested through drinking water.

If it doesn't usually survive the water-treatment process, then why is the focus on neti-pot usage, rather than on the water-treatment process? Is there a problem with Louisiana's water treatment process? Or is it considered normal for some amoebas to make it through the process, and if so, how common is it?

Are there amoebas in my drinking water??? Ewwwww. How many non-brain-eating amoebas and other things like that are there in the tap water?

"While it's uncommon for tap water to contain the deadly amoeba, it may house harmful bacteria, such as e-coli, ABC 4 News reports. "

What? There's e-coli in my drinking water?

::Checks papers:: The city used to send out a water quality report every year, but I haven't gotten any since I started receiving my statements online a few years ago. But Google helped me find the report for 2010. It says that the highest monthly percentage of samples containing coliform bacteria was 2.06%, and that the highest level allowed is 5%.

Oh well.

Oh that reminds me. My throat felt a bit sore during the night. I wanted to take some garlic pills...


I'd be more likely to boil water for neti than to buy distilled water for it. But how long would it need to be boiled?* I recall reading other articles that you have to boil water for a certain length of time, not just bring it to a boil... but maybe that was for sterilizing other objects by putting them in boiling water, rather than sterilizing the water itself.

CDC - Naegleria FAQs
All it says is "previously boiled water". So maybe you only have to bring the water to a full boil??

This article has some interesting info too:
Identification of Naegleria fowleri in Domestic Water Sources by Nested PCR

* see next post

revenge of the mosquitos

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 09:19 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
A couple of weeks ago at work when I was outside for lunch, a mosquito was pestering me, following me from the bench to the picnic table. So I decided to kill it. The next time it landed on me, I swatted it. I felt my hand crushing it briefly, and then jerked away, shaken. Damn world, turning me into a killer.

Starting about a week ago, I seem to have gotten a case of adult-onset allergy against mosquito bites. I hope this is a temporary thing. Instead of having the bites stay pea-sized, they keep getting bigger until the size of a quarter or more, and the skin swells up. Sometimes the swelling itches and burns, sometimes not. Taking anti-histamines helps get rid of the swelling and itching somewhat. Otherwise the swelling goes away in about a day.

I'm wondering if my body's overreaction to the bites is somehow due to the chigger bumps which still haven't entirely faded. Or to the hot-pepper burn I got on my hands while de-seeding some peppers, the day before the swellings started.

This week I killed another mosquito, outside at lunch. Now it's not just defending myself from a bunch of itchy bites, but also from annoying swellings.

Actually, I'm still not entirely sure it's mosquito bites that are causing the swellings, as I haven't seen what's been biting me. The reaction is more like a spider bite reaction, but it doesn't seem likely to me that I've been getting repeatedly bitten by spiders several days in a week, both inside the house and outside.

I'm posting this not to complain about it, but so that maybe Google will index it, since I haven't found much info on sudden adult onset of mosquito allergies. Especially not in relation to chiggers or hot peppers.


Last night, I saw a pale-colored, unpleasant-looking spider in the house. So I caught it and took it outside. But while descending the porch steps, preparing to release it onto the grass, I stepped on a large cockroach. Barefoot. Squish. Ugh. Poor cockroach. Sigh. Just can't win.

no rubber ducky

Sunday, June 28th, 2009 01:24 am
darkoshi: (Default)
The original chigger bumps are on their way to being gone.
But I've still been getting a few new ones, it seems...
Maybe these are mosquito bites, but I'm not sure.

So on someone's advice,
I patted my body down with vinegar,
let it dry,
and then took a bath.

Sitting in a tub of water
sounds awfully boring to me.

So I lit a candle,
got out a blue glowstick to play with (it floats)
and put on some techno music.

Well, first I cleaned the tub (since sitting in a dirty tub seems icky),
and then I took a pre-shower (since sitting in a tub of dirty water seems icky).
And then I did the vinegar and bath.
And then I did a post-shower

It was different and sort of nice.
Probably about the 3rd bath I've taken in the last decade.
Or maybe the last 2 decades.
Bathtubs were larger when I was a child.


Monday, June 22nd, 2009 06:40 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I would have preferred it to have been poison ivy! At least I could learn to recognize and avoid a plant. But tiny bugs which you can hardly see, crawling straight through your socks and up your legs!