Maggots Make Home In Woman’s Ear After Peru Trip

John Kucharski, Wikimedia Commons

At one point on her trip-of-a-lifetime to Peru, Rochelle Harris swatted a fly out of her ear and thought little of it. On the flight home, however, she began to hear “scratching sounds” and feel excruciating pain on the side of her face. Then, the next day, fluid leaked out of her ear onto her pillow. After tests at the doctor, it was revealed that maggots had chewed nearly a half-inch hole in her ear canal (ew!). Turns out that pesky fly that laid eggs in her ear was a New World screwworm fly, a species whose larvae feeds on the tissue of its host.

Harris’ story will be featured on Discovery Channel’s upcoming series Bugs, Bites and Parasites. To make sure you don’t end up on the show (seriously, you don’t want to earn your five minutes of fame this way), make sure you study which animals and insects to be aware of before setting off on a trip. From yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria (all transmitted by mosquitos) to the pneumonic plague (transferred person-to-person), don’t let an experience like Harris’ ruin your vacation. Be prepared by getting the appropriate shots and by keeping antibiotics in your first aid kit. And please, watch out for those flies.

[via news.com.au]

China’s Smog Problem Slashes Half A Decade Off Life Expectancy

china smog pollution
Benjamin Vander Steen, Flickr

We’ve shown you the dramatic images of smog-filled Beijing before, but it’s only now becoming apparent just how deadly China’s air pollution actually is.

A new study has revealed that air pollution in northern China has reduced the life expectancy of locals by about five and a half years. The findings are the result of a major study by a team of international researchers who are analyzing the health effects of China’s air pollution based on data collected locally – the first time such an investigation has been conducted.Northern China is home to some of the most smog-choked cities in the world and the northern region of the populous country is significantly worse off than its southern counterpart. Why? For decades, the region north of the Huai River was provided with free heat during the country’s icy winters. This extra coal consumption resulted in a dramatic spike in air pollution across the north. According to researchers, dangerous particles in the air are 55 percent higher in the northern region of China than they are in the south.

The air pollution isn’t just an issue for locals. Thick smog in cities like Beijing – which is popular with both leisure and business travelers – can reduce visibility and lead to flights being canceled. The suffocating air also keeps many health-conscious tourists away, leading to fears that the pollution may impact the economy.

Jamaica Bans Smoking Tobacco, Marijuana Is Another Matter

Smoking
Project Zaldivar26/Flickr

Banning smoking in public places is not all that uncommon as popular destinations worldwide look to promote a healthy environment for visitors to enjoy. But to some in the Bob Marley-induced culture of Jamaica, tobacco smoke is not the issue.

The new law of the land goes into effect on July 15, when visitors will no longer “have to involuntarily inhale tobacco smoke, with its over 40 carcinogens,” said Jamaica’s minister of health Fenton Ferguson in a Jamaica Observer article. Jamaicans get that, responding with support for the move to ban cigarette smoking.

On another smoke-related front, Jamaica’s Ganja Law Reform Coalition (GLRC) argues that marijuana is a plant with various uses, including environmental and recreational. They propose for marijuana to be taxed and regulated, something not on the agenda of minister Ferguson.Choosing instead to address other health concerns including excessive alcohol consumption and identifying the contents of fast food, Ferguson insists that “tobacco is the one that a little bit of smoke, a little puff every now and again is dangerous for you.”

Meanwhile, in Amsterdam…

Amsterdam Restaurant Offers Tables Only For One

Airport X-Ray Scanner Radiation No Big Deal, Say Scientists

radiation
Mad House Photography

The topic of overexposure to radiation via airport X-ray scanners comes up from time to time, mostly by frequent fliers concerned for their health. But in a new study out this week, scientists say travelers absorb less radiation from an airport security scan than just standing around waiting for it.

Using two scanners at the Los Angeles International airport (LAX), a traveler would have to take more than 22,500 scans in a year to be in trouble, concluded a recent test.

“We think the most important single take-away point for concerned passengers is to keep an appropriate perspective,” said Christopher Cagnon, PhD, DABR, the chief of radiology physics at UCLA Medical Center in a Travel Daily News report, adding “the effective radiation dose received by a passenger during screening is comparable to what that same passenger will receive in 12 seconds during the flight itself or from two minutes of natural radiation exposure.”The report came from a study commissioned by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), using Rapiscan Secure 1000 SP backscatter X-ray scanners, once common in major airports but removed mostly over concerns for privacy, replaced by machines that emit even less radiation.

TSA: X-Ray Scanners To Be Removed Over Privacy Issues

Pet Passports Make For Easy Travel, Avoid Fines

Pet PassportsHaving a pet passport can speed up and simplify traveling with animals between countries. A typical pet passport will have the microchip or tattoo number of the animal and a complete record of immunizations and vaccinations required for entrance into most countries. While airlines have inspected that document in the past, look for increased scrutiny going forward after one carrier received a hefty fine in a pet passport related incident.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been fined £1,800 (about $2,800) by a UK court for carrying a cat found to be traveling on an invalid pet passport, reports Barry & District News. On top of that, KLM was ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge of £120.

A pet passport is just one part of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), a system that enables animals to travel between member countries without undergoing quarantine. Started in the UK, the PETS program then rolled out to other European Union countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In the case of the KLM incident, the Mexican cat’s passport had discrepancies over its identification and, more importantly, its rabies vaccinations. “Without trading standards’ intervention, the possibility of a rabies outbreak could have been catastrophic,” said Principal trading standards officer Christina Roberts-Kinsey.While the PETS program is a step in the right direction, standardization between countries is still a work in progress. To fly, pets need a wellness exam, food in-transit and they, too, will have to go through security at the airport. Companies that specialize in transporting pets like PetRelocation.com have the most current and accurate information.

The PetRelocation.com approach designs a custom plan for each individual pet, satisfying or exceeding the entry requirements of countries around the world. Clients receive their pet‘s flight schedule the week before the flight detailing all of the flight numbers, departure and arrival airports along with the pet’s “Air Way Bill” (or ticket) number. These 24/7 flight tracking instructions keep pet owners informed.

Flying on United? A first-class lounge for pets recently opened at Chicago O’Hare.

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