This statement has been added to the side menu pages. Comments welcome.


I get many, many emails from people. Some of these emails (and comments) say things like “I think I have a dangerous parasite” or “worms are coming out of my skin” and requesting my help in diagnosing their illness.

While I am sympathetic, I will not diagnose you over the internet.

I can suggest some potential causes, but my first advice will always be “SEE YOUR DOCTOR.”

Seriously. If you have a medical condition that is causing you enough distress to contact a random person on the internet and tell them details about your anus or other bodily orifices, it’s time to visit the doctor.

If your current doctor isn’t helping you, try a new doctor. Some are better than others.

I’m sorry to be blunt.  I have eczema, and I certainly understand the difficulty of an endless itch that never goes away and never gets better. But I’m afraid I can’t tell you what might have bitten you, or what might be living under your skin.

Some helpful resources:

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. These aren’t Morgellons people are they?

  2. That would be one major group, yes.
    But they aren’t the only ones.

    A couple of months ago I had a 25 email exchange with a guy that thought he had schistosomiasis, before he decided he *maybe* should see a doctor.

    Morgellons Syndrome, for those who aren’t sure what we are talking about.

  3. It’s turned into a real internet phenomenon lately. I’ve been meaning to write about it (I’ve had a half-written piece in the works for months, lol), but I’m not sure the best way to do it justice. I have every sympathy for those genuinely suffering with something, but I feel like this aggressive internet community that has sprung up is not helping anyone. I’ve even had trackback spam at The Lay Scientist from a Morgellons website…

  4. I’ll be happy to diagnose them:
    Delusional Parasitosis

    That was easy.

  5. There is a very nice debunking Morgellons site at wordpress–I’ll have to try to find that again.

    Searching the tags just gets this, which manages to combine chemtrails, nanobots, and morgellons. OY.

  6. This is off-topic, but I wasn’t sure where to post it.

    I found an ant behaving really oddly, running in a small clock-wise circle. (For at least 20 minutes, probably more.) I was able to video-tape it. If you have a minute, could you look at it and tell me if you have any idea as to why it’s doing this?

    The video and explanation is on my blog, at

    Thanks so much.

  7. Ha! I will diagnose Ants. :D

  8. Thanks, Bug Girl!

  9. The list of plants that cause skin problems does not include poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac for some strange reason. And the link to a Canadian site from that link isn’t about any kind of dermatitis.

  10. This post made me feel guilty for all the times I’ve peed in a stream and wondered if that fish that swims up pee streams might have found its way to the Pacific Northwest. ;) I promise not to ask about it.

    Apparently the only people more sought after for overshares about bodily stowaways are the SEM people. Our microscopist is plagued by calls about parasites no one has been able to confirm.


    It’s sort of sad.

  11. Old fart–I know, it’s a New Zealand List. I haven’t found a satisfactory US list that isn’t overly commercial.

    This is the best one so far:

  12. I have a related problem with my Birding Blog…people get the idea I can cure or give a diet for their parrots, canaries, owls, toucans, falcons and all sorts of birds, im a biologist not a vet so hmm its complicated.

  13. @Dharma:

    The fish you’re thinking of is actually an eel, called a “Candiru”. I met one while I was in the Amazon last year, but didn’t get a photo myself. However, you can see one post-extraction on my blog here:

    (P.S., really don’t go to that page if you’re eating, have eaten, or are planning to eat)

  14. I really like this way of putting it:

    “overshares about bodily stowaways”

    I may have to steal that, Dharma!

  15. I should have read this earlier and pointed you in the direction of my disclaimer, which I have just made rather more prominent. It makes my position clear…

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