Dictionary 34. Take a Bite

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Have you ever been bitten? Of course you have. You are surrounded by creatures that might, or do, bite. Even as you rest your head on your pillow, bedbugs are probably nibbling away at you. They live happily inside most pillows.

Take a walk outside and you are a target for "man's best friend." Hundreds of dog-bite victims visit US emergency rooms daily. Many bites are terrible. A vicious attack on a young woman in France led to the first face transplant. To avoid the dogs in your neighborhood, you might want to hike into the desert or the woods. There, you run the risk of bites from rattlesnakes, scorpions, and blood-sucking ticks. Not to mention bears, wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions. Even as they are becoming a threatened species, mountain lions are a growing threat in southern California as man continues to reduce their hunting areas by building housing tract after housing tract.

Speaking of housing, watch where you go in your house or garage. Shy but deadly, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider make themselves comfortable in quiet areas of your closets or garage. One bite from either of them can make you very sick; occasionally, people die from such bites. Unfortunately, many people fear all spiders, not just the few dangerous ones. They squash them or run from them at first sight, not realizing that most spiders are actually beneficial to man.

If you're concerned about bites, don't forget about rabid animal bites. Any warm-blooded animal can get infected with rabies. Although humans in the US rarely get attacked by rabid animals, the disease is painful and dangerous. You will most likely die if you are not treated properly within 48 hours of being bitten.


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