My new book is THE HUMAN BODY SURVIVAL GUIDE. I’ve written non-fiction books before, but this time it was different. This time I was completely FREAKED OUT by some of the research I had to do. Seriously . . . some of this stuff is MEGA GROSS!
So, here’s a countdown of the seven things that freaked me out the most . . .
You are covered in oil. Your skin is covered in tiny holes called pores. Some of these pores produce sweat. But the other ones secrete oil, also known as sebum. This is why your face and head can start to feel greasy if you don’t wash regularly. Yes, that’s right, you are an icky-sticky human oil slick!
- Furuncles and Carbuncles
Caused by infected hair follicles, furuncles are swollen lumps filled with pus. They are red, warm to the touch and painful. And they will often leak pus. Yuk! Although they start off small, they can grow to the size of a golf ball. But even worse – two or more furuncles will sometimes cluster together to make an even larger pusy lump called a carbuncle. Double YUK!
- Skin Flakes
Lots of animals, like snakes and lizards, shed their skin as they grow. But that’s not what humans do. We lose our skin bit by bit, shedding tiny skin flakes wherever we go. You drop about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells EVERY MINUTE! That’s a lot of skin. That’s about 4 kilograms worth of skin EVERY YEAR!
- Stabby eyelashes
Imagine being poked in the eye by your own eyelashes. Sounds weird? Sounds freaky? Sounds impossible? But it can happen. Some people get trichiasis, also known as inverted eyelashes. This is when one or more eyelashes grow inwards towards the eye. This can lead to scratches, scarring and, in extreme cases, blindness. If you only have a few eyelashes like this, you can just pluck them out. Ouch! But if you have lots of them, you might need surgery to remove the follicles so that the eyelashes don’t grow.
- Maple Syrup Wee
What would you do if your wee smelled like maple syrup? Totally freak out, right? It’s really rare, but it can happen. It’s a genetic disorder called MSUD (Maple Syrup Urinary Disease). This disease stops your body from breaking down amino acids in the protein that you digest. These amino acids make your wee smell sweet . . . just like maple syrup. The only way to treat this disease is with a lifelong, low-protein diet. Just don’t wee on your pancakes!
You know how cats sometimes get hairballs? That’s okay, because they just cough them up. But did you know that humans can also get hairballs? Human hairballs, called trichobezoars, are made up of undigested hair. Everyone swallows some hair with their food every now and then, and it’s not a problem. But some people have a secret habit of sucking on or eating their own hair. This can cause large hairballs. They can be a problem if they get stuck in you guts, blocking up your digestive system. If that happens, then surgery is needed to get the hairball out. If only humans could cough up their hairballs, just like cats.
And the NUMBER ONE spot for freaky things about the human body goes to . . .
- Eyelash Mites
Eyelash mites are microscopic parasitic bugs that feed on dead skins cells and oil. They live in and around your eyelashes and eyebrows. But get this – they are arachnids. ARACHNIDS! That means they have eight legs and are related to SPIDERS! Yikes! More than 50% of people have them. It’s usually not a problem. But occasionally, some people might get an infestation – which means, A LOT of them all together in the one place. I can’t cope with this!
I’m arachnophobic, which means that I am REALLY SCARED of spiders. So, finding out about the eyelash mites was SUPER FREAKY!
To find out more about these seven freaky things, as well as loads of other interesting and gross stuff about the human body, check out THE HUMAN BODY SURVIVAL GUIDE! But don’t worry too much . . . it’s not all freaky and gross. There are lots of cool and amazing things about the human body as well. And you can read about those things in the guide too.