Have you ever heard the term Brain-Eating Amoeba and does it eat your brain? Naegleria fowleri is the scientific name of a brain-eating Amoeba which is discovered in 1965. It is most visible in the soil and warm fresh water. Severe brain damage and swelling causes inside the human body due to Naegleria infection leads to death. This condition is named by doctors as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Most individuals have questions about the safety to spend time in water sources like streams, rivers, and more because of PAM. Let’s examine a detailed overview of Brain-eating amoeba awareness here. 

Brain-eating amoeba symptoms? 

Brain-eating amoeba symptoms appear in the human body within 24 hours to 14 days. A few early symptoms include fever, nausea or vomiting, and severe headache. Other infections begin rapidly after the initial symptoms developed. These symptoms include loss of balance, stiff neck, hallucinations, light sensitivity, and seizures. In some instances, death occurs within 3 to 7 days after the appearance of symptoms. 

Brain-eating amoeba in water sources 

Naegleria mostly survive in very warm water around various places. A large count of brain-eating amoeba is viewable in warm ponds, aquariums, slow-flowing rivers, geothermal water sources, water parks, untreated swimming pools, hot springs, and more. Naegleria is unable to live in saltwater or can’t survive in treated municipal water and swimming pools. Also, you won’t get infected once drinking defile water. In the US, we can view Naegleria within the warmer climate in Southern states. 

 Infections of Brain-eating amoeba

The amoeba enters an individual body through the nose and then reaches the brain directly. It’s the place where Brain-eating amoeba infections began. The infection doesn’t expand once you drink polluted water. It occurs if you are swimming in a river, lake, etc.  Apart from these, brain-eating amoeba infections are rooted in chlorinated pools and fetid water. Moreover, infections tend to occur amid heat waves and summers. 

How to prevent brain-eating amoeba infections?

It is necessary to take prevention once you spend a long time in the water. This organism infects people when the water consisting of amoeba enters the body at the time of swimming, diving, or jumping in rivers. One of the best ways to lessen infection risk is to avoid the freshwater flow to your nose. You need to be conscious of brain-eating amoeba awareness before getting infections. A few of the tips regarding brain-eating amoeba prevention are specified below.

  • Always keep your head above water if you decide to swim in freshwater. 
  • Try to swim in pools that are disinfected properly. 
  • Avoid jumping in the water directly once you swim. 
  • Keep away from high-water activities like tubing or water skiing. 

How to avoid brain-eating amoeba

To avoid brain-eating amoeba, follow these preventive measures:

  1. Avoid warm freshwater sources: Brain-eating amoeba, such as Naegleria fowleri, are commonly found in warm freshwater bodies like lakes, hot springs, and poorly maintained swimming pools. Avoid activities like swimming or diving in warm freshwater sources.
  2. Use nose protection: If you must engage in water-related activities in warm freshwater, use nose protection such as nose clips or plugs. The amoeba enters the body through the nasal passages, so blocking the entry points reduces the risk.
  3. Use clean and chlorinated water: When using a swimming pool or any water facility, ensure it is properly maintained and treated with chlorine or other disinfectants. Chlorination kills the amoeba and helps maintain a safe environment.
  4. Keep your head above water: While participating in water activities, try to keep your head above water as much as possible. This reduces the chances of water entering your nasal passages.
  5. Avoid stirring up sediment: Stirring up sediment in warm freshwater sources can increase the concentration of amoeba. Avoid activities like digging or disturbing sediment in bodies of water where the amoeba may be present.
  6. Be cautious with neti pots: If you use a neti pot for nasal irrigation, ensure you use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. Tap water can contain amoeba, so using the aforementioned water sources reduces the risk of infection.
  7. Educate yourself: Stay informed about the presence of brain-eating amoeba in your region. Be aware of any outbreaks or warnings issued by local health authorities and take necessary precautions accordingly.