What are the potential dangers of submerging your head underwater in a hot spring?

Picture this: You’re on a serene vacation in a beautiful hot spring, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The water is so inviting that you feel like taking a plunge. But what if you decide to put your head underwater? What could possibly go wrong? In this article, we’ll explore the potential dangers of submerging your head underwater in a hot spring. We’ll take a deep dive into the risks associated with this seemingly harmless activity and how you can stay safe while still enjoying the experience. So, if you’re ready to learn about the risks and rewards of hot spring diving, keep reading!

Quick Answer:
Submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can be dangerous due to the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The water in a hot spring is typically very hot, and can cause your body temperature to rise rapidly, especially if you stay underwater for an extended period of time. This can lead to dehydration, as well as a range of other health problems. Additionally, the high temperatures of the water can cause your blood vessels to dilate, which can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms. It is important to be aware of these risks and to take steps to protect yourself when visiting a hot spring.

Understanding Hot Springs

How hot springs are formed

Hot springs are formed by geothermal heat from the Earth’s core or crust. The water is heated as it flows through fractures in rocks, and the heat is then transferred to the surrounding rocks and water.

The temperature of hot springs varies depending on the location and depth of the water source. In general, hot springs have a temperature range of 60-140 degrees Fahrenheit (15-60 degrees Celsius).

Hot springs can be found in many different geographic locations, including volcanic regions, mountainous areas, and areas with active tectonic plates. They are often associated with mineral deposits, as minerals can precipitate out of the hot water and form deposits on the surface.

In summary, hot springs are formed by geothermal heat and can have a wide range of temperatures. They can be found in various geographic locations and are often associated with mineral deposits.

The benefits and risks of soaking in hot springs

Soaking in hot springs has been a popular practice for centuries, with people all over the world seeking out these natural sources of heat and minerals for their purported health benefits. While there are certainly some potential benefits to soaking in hot springs, there are also some risks that you should be aware of before taking the plunge.

One of the main benefits of soaking in hot springs is the potential for relaxation and stress relief. The warm water can help to soothe sore muscles and promote a sense of calm, making it a popular choice for those looking to unwind after a long day. Additionally, many hot springs contain minerals that are believed to have therapeutic properties, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. These minerals can help to soothe and heal the skin, as well as potentially providing other health benefits.

However, there are also some risks associated with soaking in hot springs. One of the main concerns is the potential for bacterial and viral infections, as the warm water can create an ideal environment for these organisms to thrive. This is particularly true in natural hot springs, where the water may be contaminated with untreated waste or other pollutants. Additionally, submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can increase the risk of infection, as it can disrupt the natural defenses of your ears, nose, and throat.

Another potential risk of soaking in hot springs is overheating, particularly if you spend too much time in the water or don’t take adequate breaks to cool down. This can lead to dehydration, dizziness, and other symptoms of heat exhaustion, and in severe cases, it can even result in heatstroke. It’s important to be mindful of your body’s limits and to take regular breaks to avoid overheating.

Finally, it’s worth noting that some people may be more susceptible to the risks of soaking in hot springs than others. If you have a compromised immune system, for example, you may be more vulnerable to infections, and if you have certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, you may need to be more cautious when using hot springs. It’s always a good idea to check with a healthcare professional before using a hot spring if you have any concerns or questions.

Overall, while there are certainly some potential benefits to soaking in hot springs, it’s important to be aware of the risks and to take steps to protect yourself. By taking care to avoid submerging your head underwater, staying aware of your body’s limits, and being mindful of potential health concerns, you can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience when using hot springs.

Differences between natural and man-made hot springs

Hot springs are geothermal waters that emerge from the ground at temperatures ranging from warm to boiling. They are a popular attraction for their therapeutic benefits, including relaxation, stress relief, and pain relief. However, not all hot springs are created equal, and there are significant differences between natural and man-made hot springs.

Natural hot springs occur in geothermal areas where the earth’s crust is heated by volcanic activity or geothermal energy. These springs are typically found in areas with active volcanism or tectonic activity, such as in the Pacific Northwest, California, and Alaska. Natural hot springs can vary in temperature, ranging from lukewarm to scalding hot, and may contain minerals that give the water a distinct color or taste.

On the other hand, man-made hot springs are created by pumping water into a pool or tub, and heating it to a desired temperature. These springs are typically found in spas, hotels, and other commercial settings, and are designed to provide a consistent temperature and water quality. Man-made hot springs may also be treated with chemicals to sanitize the water and improve its taste.

While both natural and man-made hot springs offer benefits for relaxation and stress relief, there are some potential dangers associated with submerging your head underwater in either type of spring.

Submerging Your Head Underwater in a Hot Spring

Key takeaway: Submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can pose various dangers, including the risk of drowning, heat stroke, bacterial and viral infections, ear infections, and skin irritation. It is important to take safety precautions such as avoiding submerging your head, monitoring body temperature, staying aware of surroundings, and following emergency response procedures to minimize these risks.

Potential dangers of submerging your head underwater

One of the potential dangers of submerging your head underwater in a hot spring is the risk of inhaling harmful bacteria. The water in hot springs can contain high levels of microorganisms, including thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria, which can cause infections when inhaled.

Another danger is the risk of drowning. If you are submerged underwater, you may lose consciousness or have difficulty swimming back to the surface, which can lead to drowning.

Additionally, the temperature of the water can also pose a danger. Hot springs can reach temperatures up to 122°F (49°C), which can cause burns to the skin and mucous membranes when submerged. The heat can also cause dehydration, which can lead to other health problems.

Moreover, the pressure of the water can cause ear and sinus problems, such as barotrauma, which is the physical damage caused by the pressure of the water. This can cause discomfort, pain, and even hearing loss.

Finally, the mineral content of the water can also be harmful. High levels of minerals such as sulfur, chloride, and bicarbonate can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, leading to respiratory problems.

Risks associated with holding your breath

While immersing your head underwater in a hot spring may provide a momentary sense of relaxation, it is crucial to understand the potential dangers that come with this practice. One of the primary risks associated with this activity is the danger of holding your breath.

  • Loss of consciousness: When you hold your breath, you reduce the oxygen supply to your brain. Prolonged holding of breath can lead to a loss of consciousness, which may result in drowning or other serious injuries.
  • Carbon dioxide toxicity: Holding your breath for an extended period can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, leading to respiratory alkalosis. This condition can cause dizziness, seizures, and even loss of consciousness.
  • High blood pressure: The act of holding your breath can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure, which may result in an aneurysm or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. This can lead to serious neurological complications or even death.
  • Cold shock: If the water is cold, submerging your head underwater can cause a sudden change in body temperature, leading to cold shock. This can cause a rapid heart rate, gasping, and even cardiac arrest, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition.
  • Other risks: Holding your breath while submerged in water can also lead to ear, nose, and throat infections, as well as damage to the eardrums or middle ear.
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Given these risks, it is crucial to exercise caution when submerging your head underwater in a hot spring. It is recommended to avoid holding your breath and to instead take slow, deep breaths while immersed in the water. If you experience any discomfort or difficulty while submerging your head, it is advisable to immediately emerge from the water and seek medical attention if necessary.

Factors that can increase the risk of drowning

There are several factors that can increase the risk of drowning when submerging your head underwater in a hot spring. These include:

  • Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol before or during hot spring bathing can impair judgment and balance, making it more difficult to maintain proper control of one’s head underwater.
  • Health conditions: Certain health conditions, such as heart disease or epilepsy, can increase the risk of drowning by affecting breathing or causing sudden loss of consciousness.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue from a long day of activities or lack of sleep can make it more difficult to stay alert and aware while submerging your head underwater.
  • Distractions: If there are distractions around the hot spring, such as loud noise or movement, it can be easy to lose focus and forget to keep track of time while submerged.
  • Inexperience: Those who are new to hot spring bathing may not be aware of the proper safety precautions or techniques for submerging their head underwater, increasing their risk of drowning.

It is important to be aware of these factors and take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of drowning when submerging your head underwater in a hot spring.

How to safely submerge your head underwater in a hot spring

To safely submerge your head underwater in a hot spring, follow these steps:

  1. Assess the water temperature: Before submerging your head, make sure the water temperature is not too hot. The ideal temperature for submerging your head is around 39-40°C (102-104°F).
  2. Gradually adjust to the temperature: If the water is too hot, wait a few minutes for the water to cool down, or take a cool shower before and after your dip. This will help your body adjust to the temperature change.
  3. Take small breaths: When your head is underwater, take small breaths through your mouth to avoid inhaling hot water. This will also help you control your breathing while underwater.
  4. Hold your breath: While submerged, hold your breath for short periods. This will help you become more comfortable with being underwater and will reduce the risk of inhaling hot water.
  5. Submerge slowly: When you are ready to submerge, do so slowly and carefully. Take your time and let your body adjust to the sensation of being underwater.
  6. Stay submerged for short periods: When you first start submerging your head, stay underwater for only a few seconds at a time. Gradually increase the duration of your submersions as you become more comfortable.
  7. Stay aware of your surroundings: While submerged, be aware of your surroundings and the temperature of the water. If the water becomes too hot or uncomfortable, quickly resurface.
  8. Never force yourself: If you experience any discomfort or pain while submerging your head, stop immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

By following these steps, you can safely submerge your head underwater in a hot spring and enjoy the benefits of this traditional practice.

The Risks of Drowning in a Hot Spring

Statistics and data on hot spring drownings

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the dangers of submerging one’s head underwater in a hot spring. Despite the popularity of hot springs as a leisure activity, it is important to recognize the potential risks involved. One of the most significant dangers is the risk of drowning.

According to data from the Japan Meteorological Agency, there have been over 200 hot spring-related fatalities in Japan alone between 2000 and 2019. These incidents typically occur when individuals lose consciousness while submerged underwater and are unable to resurface. In many cases, the lack of buoyancy in the hot water can cause a person to sink to the bottom of the spring, making it difficult for them to escape.

It is important to note that the risk of drowning in a hot spring is not limited to Japan. Similar incidents have been reported in other countries around the world, highlighting the need for caution when engaging in this activity.

To mitigate the risk of drowning, it is essential to exercise caution when submerging one’s head underwater in a hot spring. Some recommended safety measures include:

  • Staying aware of your surroundings and keeping an eye on the time
  • Avoiding submerging your head underwater for extended periods
  • Ensuring that you are physically capable of swimming and have good swimming skills
  • Informing a friend or family member of your plans and staying within sight of them at all times
  • Avoiding hot springs that are not well-maintained or that have dangerous conditions, such as slippery rocks or strong currents.

By taking these precautions, individuals can minimize the risk of drowning and enjoy the benefits of hot spring bathing safely.

Factors that contribute to drowning in hot springs

Submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can pose a significant risk of drowning. Several factors can contribute to this risk, including:

  • High Temperatures: Hot springs are typically much warmer than the surrounding water, which can cause a rapid increase in body temperature. This increase in body temperature can cause dizziness and disorientation, making it difficult for the person to keep their head above water.
  • High Buoyancy: The buoyancy of the hot spring water can be higher than that of the surrounding water, which can cause the person to float face down. This can lead to unconsciousness and drowning.
  • Submerged Rocks: The bottom of a hot spring can be covered with submerged rocks, which can cause a person to hit their head and lose consciousness.
  • Undercurrents: Hot springs can have strong undercurrents that can carry a person away from the area. This can cause them to drown if they are unable to swim or are unconscious.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: Alcohol and drugs can impair judgment and balance, which can increase the risk of drowning in a hot spring.
  • Swimming in Unfamiliar Areas: Swimming in unfamiliar areas can increase the risk of drowning in a hot spring. The lack of familiarity with the surroundings can lead to disorientation and confusion, which can cause a person to drown.

Overall, it is important to be aware of these factors when submerging your head underwater in a hot spring to avoid the risk of drowning. It is also advisable to swim in areas that are familiar and to avoid alcohol and drugs before swimming in a hot spring.

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How to prevent drowning in a hot spring

To prevent drowning in a hot spring, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings: Before submerging your head underwater, be aware of your surroundings and the depth of the water. Ensure that the water is not too deep, and there are no underwater obstacles that could cause harm.
  • Stay in control: While submerged, maintain control over your body and avoid flailing around. Keep your head above water to prevent the risk of drowning.
  • Do not stay underwater for too long: Staying underwater for too long can cause fatigue and increase the risk of drowning. Limit your time underwater to a few seconds and take breaks between submergences.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs: Alcohol and drugs can impair your judgment and increase the risk of drowning. Avoid consuming these substances before or during your visit to the hot spring.
  • Swim with a buddy: Swimming with a buddy can help ensure your safety and prevent drowning. Have someone keep an eye on you while you are submerged, and return the favor for them.
  • Know basic life-saving techniques: Knowing basic life-saving techniques, such as treading water and performing CPR, can help prevent drowning and save a life in case of an emergency.

By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of drowning while enjoying the benefits of a hot spring soak.

Emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings

When a person is submerged underwater in a hot spring, the risk of drowning becomes a significant concern. Emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings are critical to ensuring that anyone who is in distress can receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

One of the most important emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings is to have trained lifeguards on duty at all times. Lifeguards are trained to spot potential hazards and can quickly respond to any signs of distress, such as a person struggling to stay afloat or not surfacing. They can quickly pull the person to safety and provide necessary medical attention.

Another essential aspect of emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings is to have a well-marked and clearly visible emergency exit. This ensures that anyone who is in distress can quickly find their way out of the water and receive medical attention. Emergency exits should be clearly marked with signs and lighting to ensure that they are easily visible in the dark.

It is also essential to have proper equipment on hand for emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings. This includes life jackets, rescue tubes, and other rescue equipment. Having this equipment readily available can help ensure that emergency responders can quickly and effectively respond to any situation.

Finally, it is crucial to have a clear chain of command in place for emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings. This includes having designated leaders who can quickly make decisions and coordinate responses. It is also essential to have a well-established communication system in place to ensure that everyone involved in the response can communicate effectively.

Overall, emergency response procedures for hot spring drownings are critical to ensuring that anyone who is in distress can receive the help they need as quickly as possible. Having trained lifeguards on duty, well-marked emergency exits, proper equipment, and a clear chain of command can all help ensure that emergency responders can effectively respond to any situation.

Other Health Risks Associated with Hot Springs

Bacterial and viral infections

When visiting a hot spring, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with submerging your head underwater. One such risk is the potential for bacterial and viral infections.

There are various types of bacteria that can thrive in hot spring water, including thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria and cyanobacteria. These bacteria can cause skin irritation, rashes, and other dermatological issues. Additionally, hot spring water can also harbor viruses such as the enterovirus, which can cause respiratory illnesses and other health problems.

It is important to note that not all hot springs pose a risk of bacterial and viral infections. However, the risk does exist, especially in natural hot springs that are not properly maintained or monitored. It is advisable to check with local authorities or hot spring operators to ensure that the water is safe for immersion.

Moreover, it is also recommended to take precautions such as showering before and after submerging your head underwater, and avoiding submerging your head underwater for extended periods of time. These steps can help to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral infections and ensure a safe and enjoyable hot spring experience.

Chemical contaminants

While hot springs are often touted for their therapeutic benefits, they can also pose potential health risks. One such risk is exposure to chemical contaminants. These contaminants can enter hot springs from various sources, including natural geological processes and human activities. Some common chemical contaminants found in hot springs include:

  • Metals: Metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic can naturally occur in hot spring water, often as a result of geothermal activity. These metals can pose a risk to human health if consumed in large quantities or over an extended period.
  • Minerals: High levels of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur can cause issues like skin irritation, eye inflammation, and respiratory problems. In extreme cases, excessive exposure to these minerals can lead to more severe health complications.
  • Bacteria: Hot springs can harbor bacteria such as Thermus aquaticus, which thrive in high-temperature environments. While these bacteria are generally harmless, they can cause infections if submerged underwater for extended periods.
  • Chloride: High levels of chloride ions in hot spring water can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, particularly if the water is consumed rather than simply applied to the skin.
  • Chemical pollutants: Human activities, such as industrial and agricultural operations, can lead to the release of chemical pollutants into the environment. These pollutants can find their way into hot springs, posing a risk to those who submerge their heads underwater.

It is important to note that not all hot springs pose a significant risk from chemical contaminants. However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions when visiting hot springs. These precautions may include avoiding submerging your head underwater, keeping your head above water, and being mindful of any warning signs or advisories posted at the hot spring location.

Skin irritation and burns

While immersing your head underwater in a hot spring may feel invigorating, it can also lead to skin irritation and burns. The high temperature of the water can cause the sensitive skin on your head to become red, itchy, and painful. This can be especially problematic for individuals with sensitive skin or those who have previously experienced skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Moreover, submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can also lead to a condition known as “hot tub rash.” This is caused by a type of bacteria that thrives in warm, moist environments, such as hot springs. When the bacteria come into contact with your skin, they can cause a red, itchy rash that may last for several days.

Additionally, prolonged exposure to the high temperatures of a hot spring can cause damage to the hair and scalp. The heat can cause the hair to become dry, brittle, and prone to breaking, while the scalp may become red, inflamed, and itchy. This can lead to discomfort and may even cause permanent damage to the hair and scalp if left untreated.

It is important to note that these skin irritations and burns can also be caused by other factors associated with hot springs, such as high mineral content or chlorine. Therefore, it is always a good idea to take precautions when visiting hot springs, such as avoiding submerging your head underwater and showering before and after use.

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How to minimize health risks when soaking in hot springs

  • Maintain proper hygiene: Ensure that the water source is clean and free from contaminants. Avoid submerging your head underwater in areas where there is a possibility of bacterial or viral contamination.
  • Limit exposure time: Do not stay underwater for extended periods. Keep your head above water to allow for proper ventilation and to minimize the risk of bacterial and viral infections.
  • Avoid submerging your head underwater: If possible, avoid submerging your head underwater altogether. Instead, focus on soaking in the hot spring water while keeping your head above water.
  • Seek medical advice: If you experience any adverse reactions or symptoms after soaking in a hot spring, seek medical advice immediately. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after soaking in a hot spring to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can increase the risk of heat stroke and other health complications.
  • Monitor your body temperature: Hot springs can cause your body temperature to rise rapidly. Monitor your body temperature and avoid overexposure to the hot water. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or experience a rapid heartbeat, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Take breaks: Take regular breaks from soaking in the hot spring water. Give your body time to cool down and recover before resuming your soak.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain you experience while soaking in a hot spring. If something feels off, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice.

Recap of potential dangers of submerging your head underwater in a hot spring

While soaking in a hot spring can be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, there are potential dangers associated with submerging your head underwater in the water. Some of these dangers include:

  • Drowning: One of the most obvious dangers of submerging your head underwater is the risk of drowning. If you are not a strong swimmer or do not have a good understanding of the depth and current of the water, you may be at risk of getting caught in a strong current or getting water up your nose, which can cause you to choke and drown.
  • Heat Stroke: Another potential danger of submerging your head underwater in a hot spring is the risk of heat stroke. When your head is submerged underwater, your body temperature can rise rapidly, especially if the water is very hot. This can cause your body to overheat, leading to heat stroke, which can be life-threatening.
  • Bacterial and Viral Infections: Hot springs can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, especially if the water is not properly maintained. Submerging your head underwater in contaminated water can expose you to harmful pathogens, which can cause a range of illnesses, from mild respiratory infections to more serious conditions like meningitis.
  • Ear Infections: When you submerge your head underwater, your ears are subjected to changes in pressure, which can cause discomfort or even pain. In some cases, this pressure change can lead to ear infections, which can be painful and difficult to treat.
  • Skin Irritation: Finally, submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can cause skin irritation, especially if the water is very hot or if you have sensitive skin. The high temperature of the water can cause your skin to redden, burn, or even blister, which can be painful and uncomfortable.

Importance of taking safety precautions when visiting hot springs

While visiting hot springs can be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, it is important to take safety precautions to avoid potential health risks. Some of the health risks associated with hot springs include bacterial and viral infections, skin irritation, and dehydration.

To minimize these risks, it is essential to take the following safety precautions when visiting hot springs:

  • Check with the hot spring operator to ensure that the water is properly treated and safe for use.
  • Avoid submerging your head underwater, as this can increase the risk of bacterial and viral infections.
  • Keep your head above water while soaking to avoid dehydration.
  • Take regular breaks from soaking to allow your body to cool down and avoid overheating.
  • Showers are recommended after soaking to rinse off any bacteria or viruses that may have entered the water.
  • Avoid submerging your head underwater for extended periods, as this can cause brain damage or even death.
  • Always follow the rules and regulations set by the hot spring operator to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

By taking these safety precautions, you can minimize the potential health risks associated with visiting hot springs and enjoy a safe and relaxing experience.

Encouragement to practice safe and responsible hot spring use.

  • Adhere to posted signs and warnings at hot springs, which are typically placed for a reason.
  • Avoid submerging your head underwater for extended periods, as this can increase the risk of inhaling harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Be mindful of the temperature of the water, as hot springs can reach extremely high temperatures that may cause burns or other injuries.
  • Take care not to slip or fall while entering or exiting the hot spring, as the surfaces around the water can be slippery.
  • If you experience any discomfort or adverse reactions while using a hot spring, such as headache, nausea, or fever, exit the water immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Remember that hot springs are a shared public resource, and it is important to practice good hygiene and respect for others by showering before and after use and notinginginging in the water.

FAQs

1. What happens if you put your head under water in a hot spring?

Submerging your head underwater in a hot spring can be dangerous because the water may be very hot, and it can cause burns to your skin andscalp. The temperature of hot springs can vary greatly, but they are typically around 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit (38-49 degrees Celsius). This heat can cause serious injury if you submerge your head underwater for even a short period of time.

2. Can you die from putting your head under water in a hot spring?

It is possible to die from putting your head under water in a hot spring, especially if you are submerged for an extended period of time or if the water is very hot. The heat from the water can cause severe burns to your skin and scalp, and it can also cause your body to overheat, leading to heat stroke. Additionally, the high temperature of the water can cause you to lose consciousness, which can result in drowning.

3. Are there any other risks associated with submerging your head underwater in a hot spring?

Yes, there are several other risks associated with submerging your head underwater in a hot spring. The high temperature of the water can cause your body to have a physical response, such as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions. Additionally, the minerals in the water can cause irritation to your eyes and skin, and the chlorine or other chemicals used to maintain the hot spring can cause respiratory problems.

4. Is it safe to submerge your head underwater in a hot spring?

It is not safe to submerge your head underwater in a hot spring. The high temperature of the water can cause serious injury, and the other risks associated with hot springs, such as mineral irritation and chemical exposure, can also be dangerous. It is important to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect yourself when visiting a hot spring.

The brain-eating amoebas of Kerosene Creek