Hot springs are known to be good for the body as they help boost blood circulation, reduce stress, promote sleep and even heal skin problems, but did you know that the warmth of the water in hot springs also gives bacteria the perfect temperature to breed in?
According to Oriental Daily, an old man in his 70’s almost died when brain-eating amoeba was found in his brain after going to a hot spring.
The Taiwanese man was reported to have a sudden headache a few days after his visit to the hot spring, but he dismissed the symptom and thought that he just had a cold.
After a week of taking medicine for his cold, he still did not get better and even developed a fever. The old man then went to the hospital for further examination.
As the doctors were about to check him, he suddenly had a seizure, but after finding out that the man had no history of epilepsy, the doctors sent him for a lumbar puncture test to see if his brain was inflamed or infected.
Results of the test showed that there were many Naegleria fowleri – also known as brain-eating amoeba – in his brain! The man then revealed that he had gone to a hot spring a few days ago and had contracted the brain-eating amoeba that almost killed him.
This is because the amoeba likes to live in a warm freshwater environment and can even live in waters with temperatures up to 46°C and higher.
So, when people swim in bodies of water like hot springs, lakes and rivers, these amoeba are able to enter their brains through their noses, causing meningitis which can lead to irreversible damage to the brain tissue.
What’s scary about this is that initial symptoms seem normal and are often ignored, leading to delayed treatment. And when the patient is finally diagnosed, it could be too late to be treated as the fatality rate is extremely high!
Although this situation is quite rare in Taiwan, other countries such as the United States have recorded many similar cases. People are advised to avoid dunking their heads in large bodies of water to prevent amoeba from entering their nasal passage.
If you have symptoms of fever, headache, nausea, or vomiting after going into large bodies of water, you should probably seek immediate medical help.
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