Monsters Inside Me - Episode 8
Monsters Inside Me
New Series, Episode 8
Another of my write-ups, as I understood it, after watching Monsters Inside Me aired by Discovery/Animal Planet.
This episode was reporting on three cases of parasite sufferers. It also reported on how some parasites can have actual unexpected health benefits.
Male – stationed in Nepal. Taught Science.
Symptoms: Starts with drops of blood from his nose. There doesn’t appear to be a pattern, just a drip here and a drip there. The drips of blood from his nose would stop then a few minutes later it would drip blood again. Sporadic bleeding. It was thought that perhaps the dry air or high altitude was the cause.
Next morning the nose bleeds stop. One week later he sees what appears to be something poking out from his nose. He can’t quite make it out. It disappears back up his nose before he can get his hand to it. He reaches for his nose but there doesn’t appear to be anything there. The same thing happens again, something seems to be peering out from his nose. He can just see something but just not clearly enough.
He stops at a tea shop and orders something to drink. The waiter comes across with his drink and suddenly drops the tray and startled, runs out the shop. The man is perplexed, he doesn’t understand why the waiter drops everything and runs. (I think it was obvious the waiter had seen what was poking out from the man’s nose!)
The man decides to go see a Nepalese healer because of his nose problem. What with the sporadic nose bleeds and seeing something poking out from his nose, he knows something isn’t right. The healer performs an examination. The healer is startled, he sees a small, brown eel-like creature peeking out from the man’s nose. It quickly retracts before the healer can get hold of it. The man explains he doesn’t feel anything up his nose although he is aware there is something there. It appears to be an aquatic leech. It had attached to the inside of the man’s nose. It was this leech that was causing the nose bleeds. It said the leech releases an anticoagulant (anti-clotting). I think it said the leech releases like an anaesthetic to feed and this is why the man doesn’t feel a thing when the leech is feeding on his blood.
The man thinks he knows where he could have picked up the leech from. Three weeks earlier he had placed his face in a stream to drink some water. They think this is when the small leech had taken up residence in his nose. The healer had never seen anything like it and didn’t know how to remove it. He tries to draw the leech out. He tries splashing water on the man’s face and up his nose in order to coach the leech out. He has tweezers ready to grab it. It eventually peeks out but very quickly draws back in again. They sit for 15 or so minutes. Eventually it appears again and the healer manages to grab hold of it and draw it out of the man’s nose. It is very long and slimy. (I think they said it was over 8 inches in length).
Once out, the man’s nose bleeds stop and he doesn’t have any further problems.
It was said leeches can be a valuable tool in treating some illnesses. They are very effective in helping the flow of blood – a double agent.
1994 Male Landscaper/Gardener.
Symptoms: Bee stings. He is stung by around 9-10 bees. Immediately he starts to feel strange. His fingertips become numb, his lips are tingling and he has tightness in his chest. He is having a severe allergic reaction. He attends hospital where he is given an injection to reverse the reaction. One hour later he feels much better.
But… a few weeks later he feels tightness in his chest again. He also feels breathless. He looks for insect bites. He can’t see any. Hours later his condition worsens. He aches all over, is very tired and his limbs feel heavy. He goes to see the doctor. He explains his symptoms and how they are worsening. It appears that in addition to the venom from the bee stings, he is allergic to pollen and grass. He has severe asthma. He has to go on medications for a few months. The meds were having their own side effects which he was finding difficult to cope with. He gained weight and he also had skin problems.
In 2004 he travels to England to visit a family member. His aunt barely recognises him due to the change in him. They get talking and she happens to mention a documentary that she had watched. It was a documentary about hookworms and how they can help asthma and allergy sufferers. He is taken aback by what she is telling him. Allergies are when the body recognises harmless things as harmful, such as pollen and causes reactions. He doesn’t know what to do but he wants his asthma to get better and considers the option he and his aunt had discussed. He actually considers deliberately infecting himself with hookworm!
He decides to travel to Cameroon. He believes he has no choice. It said he visited villages where there was faeces and defication on the ground. He said he found this horrendous to do but said he walked continuously through this stuff in order to deliberately infect himself with hookworm.
He eventually returns home. Amazingly, his asthma had improved and in the Spring, when he was around pollen, he found it no longer affected him. He believes that infecting himself deliberately with the hookworm that it has cured him.
Although he has hookworm, he has to keep an eye on his health because hookworm infection can be serious and cause serious illness.
(I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing to be honest but, I’m sure it said on the programme that this man now helps people and sells the worms online! I think it said he now lives in England.)
Young girl – on holiday in South Africa.
She is irritated by an itch on her foot. There is a red spot. It is itchy. The itch worsens. Was it an insect bite? A few days later there is a new sensation in her foot – a burning sensation. The small red spot appears to be growing in size. It is swollen and very red and looks infected. It doesn’t look like a mosquito bite. There is concern that it may be caused by a spider bite, perhaps by a black widow spider. If this was the case she would have to get to hospital as soon as possible.
She is examined by a doctor. The doctor confirms it is not a black widow spider bite. They are not sure what it is.
The girl is given a cream to rub onto her foot. The holiday comes to an end and the family return home to the US. A few weeks later her foot starts to hurt again. The red spot is back, it is bigger and again it is very itchy and very red. Next morning the girl looks at her foot and she sees something move under her skin. Something is alive in her foot! She is taken to hospital where she is examined.
Cutaneous Myiasis is the diagnosis. Fly lays eggs. Maggot feeds on surrounding tissue. It burrows. As it does so it causes inflammation.
The doctor administers the girl with an anti-parasitic drug to kill the maggot under her skin. The meds appear to work and the girl makes a full recovery.
Flesh eating maggots can be useful in some health problems – it can be used to heal wounds.
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