Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Perils of Summer

Wow. . .you wouldn't think reading outside under a tree or on your patio would be dangerous, would you? Well, guess again. As I posted last week, I have been indulging myself in summer reading outside, enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, Sunday night of last week, I forgot to use the mosquito repellent spray.

Mosquitoes have always loved me. And their little "love bites" often leave red swollen lumps that itch. Well, last Sunday, the Bad, Bad Leroy Brown of Skeeters must have flown over my house and zoomed in. Boy----I've NEVER had a reaction to a bite like this one. Don't worry, Doctor said it wasn't a West Nile skeeter, otherwise I would have been sick ALL OVER like an awful flu, instead of watching my arm swell and the redness spread. . .and spread. . .and spread some more. Leroy & friends got both of my forearms. I was so non-stop busy Monday that I didn't pay attention. But Tuesday, I couldn't miss it. Redness spread 2" out in each radius of the circle. And the left arm----wow. The whole forearm was swollen and rosy red and hot to the touch.

Believe it or not, I actually thought I could tough if out with some lotion on Tuesday night. Nope. Only using ice packs calmed the itch. By Wednesday afternoon, had to go to clinic to check it out. Redness was several inches on both arms by then. Docs took one look and said it was cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection. Huh? I thought. I hadn't broken the skin scratching or anything. How could bacteria get in there?

Very easily. Let's think about what Bad, Bad Leroy Brown Skeeter does while he's flitting around the countryside or cityside. He/she is looking for mammals to stick that long beak into and suck up some blood. Sometimes, the mammals are alive, and sometimes they're dead. Yuck!!! So---old Leroy comes along and sticks his/her beak into you or me and injects some of that nasty bacteria from former corpse or whatever into us. Double Yuck!!!

Of course I knew this. We all do. And I tried to remember to spray so Leroy and friends will stay away. But Sunday night, I forgot. Believe me, I won't forget again. Docs put me on an antibiotic for the infection and an antinflammatory for the swelling and over counter antihistamine pills. Well, the next day, the itching was worse, and they upped the antihistamine dosage. Redness was still spreading. Nurse said to mark it with magic marker and check next day again,. Imagine my surprise to find the redness still spreading on Friday morning, almost my entire forearm was red. And itching was still bad. Only 30 min of ice every hour helped. Try working efficiently at the computer with one arm wrapped in ice pack. Not too productive.

So, docs prescribed a THIRD prescription for antihistamine strong enough to do the job. Finally, that worked. By Saturday, the redness had significantly diminished. The cumulative effect of all those medications were finally able to overcome Leroy's poisons.

Now---I tell you that story to warn everyone---especially parents of small children---to be especially careful this season to protect your little ones from insect bites. I've got a strong, healthy immune system and am healthy as that proverbial horse, and Leroy's poisons got to me. Imagine what it could do to more delicate or compromised systems. Not good. Take strong precautions, folks. I've since confirmed that there ARE some new mosquitoes out there this summer. Bad, bad ones. Leroy brought his friends.