When I was a kid I had a lot of irrational fears. My dad cured me of my fear of accidental poisoning by taking a bite of whatever I was afraid of and then, clutching at his neck and gagging, pretending to die a violent death. I once asked a psychiatrist-friend if this seemed like a reasonable way to treat a child phobia, and he said, “Well, did it work?”

By the way, I got my irrational fear of food-poisoning from my mom, who was constantly asking… “Do you think this ____ has been in the fridge too long? Should we eat it?”

I got over most of these fears as I got older, and I now blithely eat four-day-old pasta, but there are things that still freak me out. Like Hanta virus. Back when my brother lived in New Mexico, this new disease was discovered in the Southwest that you could get by breathing mouse poop. I swore off garage cleaning for good. Actually, the Southwest is a particularly scary place when you consider they also have the Bubonic Plague!

So, today, I was reading Boing Boing as a warm-up to getting to work editing my manuscript when I came across this post:

Six Die from Brain-eating Amoeba in Lakes

Apparently this scary phenomenon has been around for a couple of decades but has only killed about 20 people. In the last year, the death toll was 6. Ick. It recommends swimming in lakes with nose plugs because the only way to get the disease is by getting the amoeba in your nose. I seriously hope someone can come up with a better solution. Oh, and by the way. Where is this most common? Florida, and the SOUTHWEST.

Brain-eating Amoeba