Monday, October 20, 2008

Can You Really Die From Termites?

Answer: Yes
Intrigued by “Detox”, an episode of the TV show House, in which teenage Keith has signs of hemolytic anemia from acute naphthalene toxicity, which he got from exposure to termites, I wondered how many people die from this kind of thing. Turns out one can be exposed to naphthalene from mothballs, tobacco smoke, working in coal-tar production, wood preserving, tanning, or ink and dye production and from termites. And exposure to naphthalene can cause anemia which can result in death. In the US, 4,000+ people die per year (4,345 in 2001 and 4,336 in 2004) from non nutritional anemia (ie anemia that is not caused by iron, Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency), although most of the deaths are likely from inherited disorders rather than acute exposure. Still - maybe it’s time to call the exterminator!
Cause of Death book (page 214)

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1 comment:

Amber said...

How very House! Love the show, love the Cause of Death book. Morbid? No - I think a healthy case of curiosity.

Face It. We Can Go Anytime. But In So Many Different Ways!

Cause of Death is a great reference tool for writers, entomologists (some insects kill a lot of people) and anyone interested in health and death-related information. After all, we will all bite the dust, check out, buy the farm and kick the bucket but where we live, our sex, race, age, genetics and habits will ensure we will exit in our own unique way.

I can see this book being useful for people creating fiction where they need somebody to die, and fast.” - Cause of Death book review 'Where To Find Ingredients For Your Next Death Scene'

Death By Numbers

A Book In the Hand