Monday, October 12, 2009

Bullfrogs and Swine Flu

As I continue my second semester of graduate school, I am getting into the down and dirty of my research. Luckily the steady downpour of rain has continued for the last 40 days and 40 nights (wait, should I be looking for a big boat filled with animals?) has tempted many a Ranid frog out from the the deep swamp water. Makes for easy collecting!

Frog legs? Look at this cute face. How could anyone eat him?

Bullfrogs are ridiculously cute, especially at a young age, and that cuteness makes it all the more difficult when I have to euthanize them for the sake of science. However, my histology preparations are coming along nicely, and I am at the paraffin stage. 

One point of stress for me this afternoon was that I realized I had been exposed to low amounts of toluene for about 15 minutes. It can be harmful to your lungs, and a possible reproductive toxin, so I'm sure the little boy growing in my uterus is not pleased with me. However, after panicking and searching the internet, apparently I would have to huff it every day for a few hours for him to have any kind of damage, according to previous animal testing. 

Common uses of toluene: paint thinner, gasoline, nail polish, and TNT

Finally, on an unrelated note, if anyone is interested in good information on the swine flu vaccines available and whether you should get one or not, I recommend Dr. Sears' website. He lists the 4 different versions available, their ingredients, what ages they are approved for, and any possible risks. He also talks about H1N1 itself: the prevalence, risks, etc. 

I like Dr. Sears; he isn't anti-vaccination, but he also is rational when it comes to looking at what to get and what not to get for you and your kids. But most of all, I like that he gives you all the information you need to make an informed choice and leaves the decision up to you (though on some he does recommend for or against the vaccine). 

Being 5 months pregnant, swine flu is on my radar, but so are the possible effects on said unborn fetus. Dr. Sears lists the safer vaccines for preggos like me (ie no flumist or mercury containing vaccines) so when the vaccines arrive in my area, I can at least know which ones are safer for the kid. 

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