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Weird Science News: Winter Edition!

Bhagyashree Behera, iGlobe Science Editor

Hello Science Lovers! Happy New Year! From the declaration of an international health crisis to Australia wildfires, so much has happened over the winter! For all this and more, keep on reading!

December 2019

December was filled with chilly winters, warm spices, and measles? That’s right, according to the CDC, 2019 had the highest number of measles outbreak, over 1200 cases, and continued throughout the holiday season. Measles, a disease most well-known for causing the death of over 90% of the American population in the 16th century, continues to be a problem in America today. Many adults opt their children out of a measles vaccine, which means these children and all other non-vaccinated or immunocompromised children are in danger of contracting the disease. Children under the age of six are especially vulnerable as they are not old enough for vaccines and if they contract measles—indicated by small red spots across the body—it becomes very difficult to treat them. Unfortunately, the month of December was filled with disease and deaths caused by juul pods. These vape pens, which come in a variety of different flavors, had often been marketed as “safe” as they lacked THC, the element in marijuana which causes the high, and were consumed by teenagers. Unfortunately, thousands of teenagers have developed lung issues as a result of these vape pens and over fifty teenagers have died due to complications such as lung disease and cardiac arrest. Lessons learned? Talk to your local healthcare provider about receiving a measles vaccine (if no prior health issues are present) and stay away from vape pens!

January 2020

Happy New Year everyone! What a crazy start to the New Year it has been! The world started 2020 with the sudden climax of the Australia wildfires. These fires, which started in September of 2019, reached dangerous heights in late December and early January, as they spread all over Australia. Millions of acres of land—viable, useful, and necessary land—burned off due to these fires and have led millions of people to become homeless, and some to lose their lives. Many wealthy members of society donated money, some donated millions, towards preventing the spread of these fires and putting them out altogether. Thankfully, the fires have died down dramatically, and in its place, deadly funnel-web spiders have taken over Australian land. Australian officials are now persuading citizens to be cautious of such spiders as their dangerous venoms can kill a person in less than 15 minutes.

Another dangerous disease is rapidly spreading and has now been named an official internal health crisis by the World Health Organization: the corona virus. What is it? The corona virus is a rapidly spreading virus which began in Wuhan, China as a result of people being in close proximities to snakes and rats which contained this virus. This virus spreads through human touch, air, and mucous membranes. Currently, there are six people in the United States with this disease, however, they are all being quarantined and receiving supportive care. The symptoms of this disease resemble the common flu—minus the nausea and vomiting—and usually begins in the same way a cold does. However, this disease, in 20% of those affected, may lead to advanced lung issues caused by pneumonia. If the proper medical treatment is not received, it can result in death. What can we, as citizens of the world, do to prevent being exposed to this disease? Stop touching your eyes, your face, your mouth, your nose, without washing your hands! It truly is that simple. This disease spreads through direct contact with mucous membrane, which means it is much more likely for the average Joe to contract the corona virus, especially in airports, if they touch these membranes. Many Americans are placing masks around their face to prevent contact; however, masks won’t do much if you touch your eyes or rub your nose. Lesson of the day? Stop touching your face! Wash your hand!

That’s all for the winter edition of Weird Science News! A special Valentine’s day special will be coming out soon? What would you like us to write about next? Let us know and until next time, stay safe, healthy, and happy!

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