December 21, 2011

Today's "innocent item that will kill you in a horrific way" is... [spins the media wheel of hysteria] ... Neti pots. For those of you who have not married into a family enamored of magic potions and mystic chotchkies, neti pots are used to flush out the sinus cavities. Basically, the user sticks the spout of a teapot up their nose and pours. No, really! I knew I should've taken pictures when Ellen was using hers regularly.

At any rate, two people in Louisiana woke up dead lately, victims of a neurological disease called "primary amoebic meningoencephalitis." Since there wasn't any other obvious reason, the state's health department shot out a press release which may have included the absolutely delightful phrase, "brain-eating amoebas." Quicker than you can shriek, "flesh eating bacteria!!!!" pow, we have our latest public health hysteria. And just in time for Christmas!

That this disease is "exceptionally rare," even though the critter that causes it is "extremely common" and "extremely sensitive to chlorine," and absolutely the only way infection occurs is "direct contact with the olfactory nerve, which is only exposed at the extreme vertical terminus of the paranasal sinuses," 1 we encounter nowhere in the original article.

In other words, unless you enjoy filling a teapot with tap water and then pouring it UP your nose, a lot, you're fine, and so am I. Ellen, on the other hand, well, I'm just glad she lost the thing years ago.

Posted by scott at December 21, 2011 10:31 AM

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