It's so fun to check out all the little widgets and gadgets available for blog sites. It's my kind of shopping--techy, sparkly and free. Everything from little clocks to rotating factoids to conversion tables populate the numerous ways to individualize the enormous collective known as bloggers. I keep trying to remember Jackie O's precept to put on all your chosen jewelry and accessories for an outfit and then to remove at least one piece in order to look classy and trim. However, I do seem to hold to the Jersey Shore Girl maxim: more is more. My blog front page can take on a carnival-esque design with bleeps, blips and shiny things. I keep thinking 'no more widgets', but just like tribbles, more seem to appear in the control panels.
One little gadget that is lots of fun (and free!) is my blogpatrol program. It keeps a count of how many readers stumble by and from whence they come. It's been a fun geography lesson to show the kids that someone from Poland has seen a slide show of our Christmas holidays, that someone from the North Mariana Islands has been interested in my new Palm Centro (yea, I'm still bringing it up...). Blogpatrol also gives me a little chart on the search terms that bring people to my blog based on the labels for my posts. Handy.
Search terms have become the new cold-call lists for the new millennium. For a continuing fee, those mavens of the web marketplace can position themselves to take advantage of the high volume of searches for a variety of content markers. I perused an older version of one of these lists and found any number of Celebrity Du'Jour names, vacation spots and a multitude of pornography queries (are we ever gonna grow up, America?). But there was one term I did not find in these marketing materials, a term that has driven my blog traffic WAY up and continually stays at the top of my Blogpatrol charts. It is the singular term that has generated hits to my blog from around the world. It seems to cross all cultural and timezone barriers. It seems to surpass any governmental and religious philosophies. It is the search term that must address a common and unspoken need across the globe and it is a term I fail to find in all the web marketing material. And so now, in the spirit of fair play, I will share it with you:
Several months ago, I shared 5 of 8's journey through the pseudo-parasite infestation he imagined himself to have (I Think Discovery Channel May Owe Me Some Money, Google Cures Tapeworms). I blogged about his fears, questions and the ultimate brilliant cure he developed himself for his psychosomatic symptoms in the aftermath of seeing a Discovery Channel presentation on human parasites. Humble pages from mommyhood. Remembrances of childhood fears and humor. And apparently a profoundly searched topic on the web. Within a day or two of posting, I began to notice the trend; readers sent to my site in answer to such queries as "cures for tapeworms", "pictures of tapeworms", "symptoms of tapeworms", and my personal favorite, "little baby tapeworms" (I don't know what kind of mental picture that conjures for you, but it definitely gives me the giggles...).
I suppose in a vague way when I began sharing life as the mom of a large family that I would find audience in those who either share this lifestyle or those who live next door to that type family and are trying to figure them out. I assumed my extended family members across the country would visit the blog frequently, virtually stopping by for a cup of coffee and a chance to catch up. But in that way we often find our niche in life and on the web, it simply never crossed my mind that I would become the go-to-girl for all things tapeworms. And yet here I am.
To that end, based on my web stats, I do feel honor bound to now post a few factoids about tapeworms, their diagnosis and their possible cures. And for the litigious happy, I do not claim to be a medical expert, I am not suggesting you take my advice over your physician's, and I am not selling anything having to do with tapeworms (yet). So to that end, check out the following facts:
1. Pseudophyllidea is the most common type of tapeworm (also known as flatworm) to find a host in a human.
2. Taenia Saginata (the beef tapeworm) is the most common tapeworm to infest humans in North America: the fish tapeworm is most common in Asia and the pork tapeworm is the most common in Latin America.
3. A tapeworm can grow from 6 inches to 26 feet in length, depending upon available nutrients from the host. However, there apparently is a little bit of a controversy over possible links as one trivia game I own says that tapeworms can grow up to 33 feet. I like the 33 feet fact--it sounds WAY grosser...
4. The best way to avoid a tapeworm infestation is to cook your meat until done---160 degrees internal temp.
5. The are pharmaceutical prescriptions and any number of herbal remedies on the market.
6. Tapeworm eggs used to be sold in the US and Asia as a diet supplement at the turn of the 20th century. Makes ephedra seem a little unambitious, huh?
7. Most symptoms are generally vague, general stomach complaints. The piece de resistance would be the presence of tapeworm parts in your personal bathroom facilities--and I'm just not gonna get more specific than that....
8. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, even in your own home.
9. Don't drink dirty water.
Well, that's about all the parasitic bantering I can take for one day. Wishes for clean intestinal tracts and good health for those of you who have arrived here seeking tapeworm info. Who knows, maybe soon, I'll feature a widgit that generates little-known parasite factoids!