Tapeworms and Raw Salmon

tapeworm

I have bad news for lovers of sushi and sashimi.  Early in 2017, North Pacific salmon was found to be infected with Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, by the CDC.  Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense is the scientific name for a broad tapeworm previously known to infect only Asian Pacific salmon.

This parasite recently hit the spotlight in a major way.  In Fresno, California, a man found a 5 and a half foot long specimen in his stool.  For the previous few months, he had felt something moving around in his abdomen, but had assumed it was just gas.  After a strange and bloody bowel movement that frightened him, the long tapeworm came wriggling out.  He wound it around an empty toilet paper roll as evidence, and then brought himself to the hospital emergency room, where the amazed doctors prescribed him anti-parasite medication normally prescribed for pets.

How was this man infected?  Doctors suspect he ingested the tapeworm while eating raw salmon sashimi, which he admitted eating almost every day for lunch.   Although a five and a half foot long tapeworm may seem outrageously long, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention say this parasite can grow up to 30 feet long in a human body.

Worried about your own raw fish consumption?  It helps to add some wasabi paste, or ginger slices to your slice of sushi before eating it.  There is a reason these condiments are provided with every sushi meal.  The spiciness of the wasabi, in particular, can help to kill any parasites present in raw fish before they can take hold in your body.

Additionally, if you plan to eat uncooked fish in your own home, freezing it for two days will also kill the parasite.  Of course, cooking will also kill off any parasitic infection.  If you have concerns that you may already be infected, herbs such as black walnut or wormwood have anti-parasitic properties, and can be taken daily in tincture form to help kill off any parasites in your body.  Check your local health food store for a good source.

Common symptoms of a parasite infection include abdominal pain, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and a deficiency in B12.  But sometimes, there are no symptoms.  For those who are concerned, maybe it’s time to limit your consumption of raw fish – particularly salmon.  I myself I’ve never been very comfortable with it, and with this parasite now entering North American waters, I think it’s wise to be more cautious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

New Warnings About Household Cleaning Products

cleaning

A few weeks ago, I cited a study from the AARP that equated social isolation and feelings of loneliness with the negative health effects of smoking 15 cigarettes per day.  Now, researchers are sounding a similar warning against the regular use of household cleaning products.

In a study performed at Norway’s University of Bergen, 6,000 people were tracked over a period of two decades.  Those who had the most exposure to cleaning products had a marked decline in lung capacity, equivalent to what you might see in someone who smoked 20 cigarettes per day over that same time period.  Increased rates of asthma were also noted.

Researchers suspect that inhaling small particles of cleaning products on a regular basis might damage the mucus membranes lining lung airways, and thereby accelerate the decline in lung strength.  Although it is not yet certain which particular chemicals in household cleaning products might be contributing to this decline, bleach and ammonia are strong culprits.

To help protect your lungs from this damage, you can consider using baking soda when cleaning bathtubs and sinks, and a vinegar/water mixture when cleaning floors and windows.  Essential oils can also be mixed into the water/vinegar solution to make it smell prettier.   Citrus oils smell fresh, while lavender is relaxing.   You could even make your  life  simpler still by using plain water along with a microfibre cloth, since most household jobs don’t require strong chemicals.

Says Øistein Svanes, the lead author of the study, “When you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe [these results are] not so surprising”.

 

 

 

 



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

A Gentle Suggestion for Marital Success this Valentine’s Day

dishes

Are you giving your wife chocolate or flowers for Valentine’s Day?  Both?  Perhaps neither.  If you want your marriage to last, it might be wiser to clean up the kitchen instead.

A recent poll conducted by Gleedon, a French dating website for married women, found that 73% of female subscribers decided to cheat on their husbands because he didn’t help with the housework.  For women, it would appear that the top reason to reach for another man’s arms is feeling over-burdened at home.

Infidelity may still top the list as the most crucial marital deal-breaker, but an uneven distribution of household chores is now rated as the number three reason for marital unhappiness, and its importance has risen the fastest over the last twenty odd years.  Back in 1990, a Pew Research study found that only 47% of adults said chore sharing was important to the success of a marriage.  By 2007, that number had risen to 62%, with the recent French Gleedon poll suggesting it is now higher still.

This change is likely due to the sharp change in women’s status from home-maker to breadwinner over the last several decades.  And while men have increased their share of household chores, I’m sorry to say that it’s still the women who do the bulk of the work.

To reduce marital strife, maybe men should ditch the chocolates this Valentine’s Day and put on the rubber gloves instead?  Just a suggestion.   As for my own husband, I have no complaints.  He cleans the dishes more than I do!

 

 

 

 



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.