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Chain of cat feces can harm humans, sea otters
A young cat can shed up to 100 million oocysts -- little egg-like structures -- in its feces.
February 19th, 2012
08:28 PM ET

Chain of cat feces can harm humans, sea otters

There's more to cat excrement than meets the eye, and it may have the potential to cause disease in sea otters and humans alike.

A young cat can shed up to 100 million oocysts - little egg-like structures - in its feces. All it takes is one oocyst to cause an infection of Toxoplasma gondii.

Largely, the parasite is asymptomatic in humans, but it can sometimes cause problems for infants born to infected mothers - including hearing loss, mental disability and blindness. People with compromised immune systems, especially those who have HIV/AIDS, may also develop serious complications.
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What the Yuck: Afraid of public restrooms
February 19th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

What the Yuck: Afraid of public restrooms

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I have a phobia about going No. 2 anywhere but my own bathroom. How can I get over this?

A: Your anxiety is really common, and something you can overcome.

First, remember: We all produce bowel movements and the accompanying sounds and, yes, smells. No one’s paying attention to you in a public restroom - they’re all preoccupied!

To get a little more comfortable in there, listen to your iPod to relax, and try using the stall farthest from the door. Deep breathing can also help curb your anxiety.

But if your fear prevents you from going regularly (which can cause constipation and abdominal pain), consult a therapist. You’ll feel much better - mentally and physically.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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