There are things that people learn in school and find very far from reality and that is a book thing. This is the case of the hairdresser and the disease of sores that he transmits. It is not something very common to see in big centers, happening with the neighbor or friends. But this week’s conversation at the Torrego with Dr. Roberto Figueiredo, Dr. Bacteria, reveals that this is not the case.

We go by parties. For the beginning of the conversation, what is the hairdresser? It is an insect that looks like a beetle and is the host of the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes the disease of sores. This is because when he stings the skin, sucks the blood also deposits his stool. The natural consequence is that the person begins to scratch the region, spreads all the havoc, which comes in contact with the blood and voila, the bacteria has found the entrance to the body.

In the school we learn that this insect is common in houses of mud and stick to sink, more common in more remote regions and in more precarious conditions of Brazil. In science class, the barber’s bite is not the most common cause of disease transmission today. We can put the blame on açaí and sugarcane.

Hey?! As well?!

As strange as it sounds, it is true, these two seemingly innocent foods can transmit the disease of sores. This is because their plantations are natural hairdresser’s habitats (it’s back!). When it has harvest, the insects end up in the middle and, more than that, they are crushed (for consumption) together. And there, it spreads bug and bacteria for all sides and goes to the table of countless people. This, of course, occurs in places without proper hygiene and care.

But, now? Should I suspend the acai?

Of course not. First because the number of contaminations is very low. Second, there are some cares that can help. For starters, do not eat acai anywhere and of doubtful origin. Make sure that hygiene is something in the routine of the plantation. In addition, the safest way to consume the fruit without risk is to opt for pasteurized options. “There used to be talk of freezing at a temperature below 32 degrees for two or three days, but that’s history – freezing does not kill the bug,” Dr. Bacteria warns.
Therefore, when you go to buy, take a look before the packaging if the product is certified by monitoring bodies, such as the Ministry of Agriculture or Health Surveillance, and if it has been pasteurized. Of course the taste will not be the same as the in natura version, it will be a bit altered, but it is the health that counts and is worth that “sacrifice”, right?

For sugarcane it is a little less worrying because today there are already specific legislations for planting and healthy cultivation, free of that risk.

When we talk about pasteurization then we associate milk. And another question arises: açaí pasteurized?

Yes, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, pasteurization is the name of a process that can be used in various foods. It consists of destroying pathogenic microorganisms that may exist in the milk, in the acai or in the chosen one to be sanitized.

In this process, the food goes through a heating at a very high temperature for a certain time and, immediately afterwards, it is suddenly cooled. This sudden change is the one that eliminates the microorganisms in question. The heating and cooling time is calculated and they need to be respected to avoid deterioration of the food – we want to kill the microorganisms, not the food. But for the work not to be in vain, the food is hermetically closed to avoid contact with the air and new contaminations.

Who discovered the effectiveness of that set of temperatures in sanitation and conservation, thus, created the method was the French chemist Louis Pasteur, where the name of the process comes from, in 1864.

It was thanks to that discovery that allowed transport and storage for longer time of foods such as milk without going into decomposition and doing a damaged damage to the health of people. That is, a great contribution to the quality of life.

And all that why? To avoid the disease of the sores. At such a bacterium, when it reaches the blood, it automatically reaches various organs. Among them the liver and the heart, this being the most associated with the disease. In addition to the forms of transmission already mentioned above (barber bite or ingestion of contaminated food), blood transfusion from contaminated people can also be one of the causes.

The symptoms are: fever, malaise, swelling in the eyes, swelling and redness at the site of the insect bite, fatigue and indisposition, skin irritation, body aches, headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, nodules , size of liver and spleen. And in more advanced cases it can be fatal.

The treatment aims to kill and remove the parasite and reduce the symptoms. Sometimes and depending on the stage of the disease, the medicines help. In more advanced stages they do not treat, they only alleviate the symptoms and prevent it from progressing.

This name is due to its discoverer, the Brazilian doctor Carlos Chagas. That still accumulates in the race four nominations to the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.

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