Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Benefits of Rocking a Beard


Used to wear one only in winter-- helped prevent wind chap while skiing. Now it's on full time and no more razor burn.
But there are other reasons. And so I give you...

Will this be the only ridiculous beard pic? No it will not.

This my take on an article by  K. Aleisha Fetters

Even their guitars are sunproof.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer. Most lesions occur above the shoulders.  UV rays take the blame.
Beard pro-tip:  Grow a neck-beard for maximum coverage.

Nose ring optional.

2.  No-blemish skin
A top reason of mine.
When you ditch the razor you skip the rash and cut down on acne and folliculitis. Shaving is a great way to spread bacteria around and infect follicles.
See? No blemishes.

3. Beards are Butch
I only know one man named Butch. While he has a pretty tough history, he wears no beard.
Nonetheless, apparently both sexes perceive the bearded as more masculine than the shorn.
 " intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive..." (Sorry, no blemish dude. You're doing it wrong.) and "Masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair increased, and this effect was more pronounced in women in the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle..."

Seems to've worked for this guy.

4. Moisturized
This one plays to me again. I used to hate wind chap when skiing.
This is all about sebaceous glands. These glands are at the base of the hair follicle. They secrete fatty sebum which keeps the skin moist and so protects. A beard keeps sebum in place like kudzu keeps dirt on a bare slope.

Bare slope.

5. Pollen trap
You blow your nose after a manly day tossing hay bales and what comes out is enough to start a garden. Nose hairs (with an assist from mucous) works that well.
And so does your beard.
How do bees collect pollen? They wallow in the stuff and collect it on the tiny hairs of their tiny bee appendages. Your beard is like that, catching and keeping pollen and dust out of your face-holes.

Works for the ladies, too.

For the most erudite and exciting musings on pollen/allergies ever written on this blog, page down a couple posts.

And one man's solution to the high costs associated with shaving.

Friday, June 21, 2013

11 Non-joys of Pet Ownership

What with the warmer weather, your pets will probably be spending more time in the great outdoors.
Then return to the great indoors. Lie on the bed, couch. Patter around your house. Tracking/spreading unpleasantness all over. Maybe you even kiss your pets. Ugh.

Here is my take on an article written by Leah Zerbe, Prevention & entitled
11 Diseases You Can Get from Your Pet.

1. Ringworm
Nice article on defeating the fungus here.

The delightful spores live for months unhosted. Highly contagious.

Doggy ringworm.
Article suggests washing bedding once per month in hot water. OK.
WebMD recommends changing your socks and underwear at least once per day.
I kid you not.
They also helpfully recommend putting socks on before underwear. So as not to spread the fungus to your delicate regions. Sparky up there must have missed that memo.
I should think the plain advice would run: Be aware of your pet's health. Immediately address lesions. Wash what Sparky-tainted surfaces/items can be washed.
2. Roundworm
Horrific. Forewarned.
One of the banes of kittydom, the most common cat parasite.
And here is why they were such a fright in ages past:
It  can actually be more stomach-knottingly nightmarish. Again, forewarned.
Yep. That's some poor devil's eye. Left untreated, roundworm infection could progress to blindness.
But don't think this is only a problem of yore.  And note in the link that over half of infections occurred in southern states, Georgia and Florida being singled out.
Wow, these nematodes are high on my unclean list.
Article suggests, that just maybe, "house cat" indicates cats should live inside houses. Worms outside. Cat stay inside. I'd add that maybe, just maybe, there are other excellent reasons to keep them inside.
They also suggest hand washing after tending the litter box.
Bonus from the article from the University of Maryland Medical Center:  eat bitter and spicy foods such as turmeric, cayenne, ginger, olives, and garlic to naturally deter infection.
3. Hookworms
They live on blood sucked from dog's intestines.
The problem here is poop. Scoop the poop promptly, according to the article, so the eggs won't hatch in your yard.
I must suppose common sense would indicate not walking barefoot were animals may be expected to tend to their toilette. Clean you and anything that comes into contact with the nastiness.
He has a thing for feet. You're feet.
4. Giardia
Looks kinda cool, actually. After the last two monsters anyway.
Most frequent gut parasite, and most frequent organism associated with waterborne infection in the US.  Responisble for 4,000 hospital admissions per year.
Giardia sets up shop in the gut and causes diarrhea.
The article mainly recommends taking water with on trips. Don't allow your pet to drink from open water sources.
Great recommendation. Probably difficult to enforce.
 5. Campylobacter
Puppies and kittens are the scourge here, according to the article.
The usual advice stands-- touch puppy, wash hands.
If the puppy has had diarrhea, be aware that it can shed germs for weeks after infection.
6. Salmonella
Just like those things in the Matrix.
The authors of the article have a bit of trouble with the difference between reptile and amphibian. Nonetheless, the point is taken that our more scaly/slithery pets can harbour salmonella. Chickens are another potential reservoir. And, yes, people keep chickens as pets.
Wash your hands advice.
Good advice I hadn't considered is to not wash tanks in the kitchen sink. You could disinfect afterwards, of course, but why chance the exposure and go to the trouble?
Salmonella causes tummy ache, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
7. Tapeworms
Still amazes me this was a thing.
If your pet is boot-scooting across the carpet it may be time for a visit to the vet.
Worms can be seen in stool-- pet or human-- as rice-like bits.
Useful bit aside from the now all too familiar wash your hands:  You can be infected if you ingest a carrier flea.
So don't eat fleas, I guess.
8.Cat Scratch Fever
You knew you'd see this guy.
Bartonella hangs out on cats' nails. 40% of cats are infected at some point in their nine lives.
This is another flea vector problem. If kitty has been flea (or tick) infested and has swollen lymph nodes-- off to the vet.
The advice: keep cat's nails trimmed, and, get this, don't let them lick open wounds. Seems to me if they are indoors they won't be facing a tick problem and less chance of a flea problem.
In humans the disease causes swollen and tender lymph nodes near the wound, fever, fatigue, joint pain, rash.
9. Bubonic plague
That hapless fellow with the black hands is Oregonian Paul Gaylord. He was infected July of last year. So, yeah, the plague is definitely still around. No word on whether the Gaylord's kept Charlie the cat.
Once again the flea is the vector, which I suppose everyone knows. But did you know there are seven cases per year?
Keep you pets flea free.
10. Toxoplasmosis
This one is the reason pregnant women are discouraged from cats, or at least unfamiliar cats. It is once again also a good reason to mind the "house" part of house cat.
If you must see the infected baby pics they are here.
Article says keep cats out of gardens and sandboxes. Of course that wouldn't be a consideration if they were in the house.
11.  Rabies
Untreated, rabies is going to kill. The article quite reasonably impresses that if you have any suspicion your pet may be rabid it is time for the vet. And if you have the slightest suspicion a rabid animal has bitten you seek medical attention right away. Symptoms won't appear until the disease has reached the brain, and by then you're two days from death. Imminent, irrevocable death.
Naturally this isn't really a cat problem as they only live in the house. Only and always.
Outdoor dogs should be vaccinated.
So there you have it.
Enjoy your little biological terror.