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Name: Gloria O.
Status: other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 9/6/2004


Question:
I was reading with my son in his science book last night and read that their are bugs that live in everyone's eyelashes. Can you please explain this? My son was a little stunned and did not believe this. I have to admit so was I.


Replies:
Gloria,

There are such things as Follicle mites that live in human hair follicles. If you have access to the internet you can do a little research.

Bob Hartwell


Although it does sound strange... Yes, this is true, there are "bugs" that live inside our bodies and on the outside surface of our bodies. They are very, very small "bugs" and are thus called microorganisms -- because you can only see them if you look at them through a powerful microscope. These microorganisms, termed the "normal flora" of our human bodies are typically good bacteria and good fungi that actually benefit us by living there. These little creatures living on our body's surface (i.e. skin, hair, eyelashes, etc.) help defend our bodies from the bad bacteria and bad fungi that come from the outside world around us. So, they help us fight the bad "bugs" that sometimes make us sick. The little creatures that live inside our bodies (i.e. stomach, intestines, etc.) do the same and also even help us digest the food we eat. So they all help us and we help them by giving them a place to live and by giving them food to eat. This relationship we have with all of the good microorganisms in/on our bodies is called a "symbiotic" relationship because we both benefit from living together, helping eachother.

Take care!

Yours in Science,

Joel Jadus


Most people are repelled by the idea of creatures living in and on us. But that is the case. Many of these are beneficial-they help us in some way, like the bacteria that live in your intestines that help digest our food. Most benefit from living on us but don't hurt us in any way. Some of course are harmful and can make us sick. I imagine that the ones they are referring to are tiny mites, sometimes nicknamed "dust mites". They are so small that you can't see them. In fact until electron microscopes were invented, which are very very powerful microscopes, we didn't know they existed. I know it sounds gross-but think about it-they have lived there your whole life and you weren't aware of them, so they must not be bothering anything. You couldn't get rid of them if you tried, so there is no need to wash any harder or use a product to kill them. To them, you are their universe. That's kind of cool.

Van Hoeck



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