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.

24 comments:

Linda Leszczuk said...

Leroy and the Mosquitoes is not the only gang in town this summer. I'm pet/garden sitting for a friend who's on vacation. Went over to water her garden the other day. Later I counted 27 bites on one leg. almost as many on the other. Not sure what got me but it was HUNGRY!

~ Babs ~ said...

Fire ants are as bad as mosquitoes this year here in SC. Don't get me wrong the mosquitoes are still bad and we are getting ready to go to the water park this morning so we will be prepared for bugs and sunburn :). Glad you are ok Maggie and hope we all can stay away from the new ones and the new disease going around.

Dru said...

I'm glad that you're okay Maggie. Thanks for the alert.

Deb Baker said...

You really went through the wringer! Mosquitoes are worst in Wisconsin than I've ever seen them. I run from the house to my car and they get in with me!

Andrea C. said...

Wow - and I thought my bites were bad, but thankfully I've had nothing like that! My feet and calves are covered from chatting outside with my friends though! Hope you are back to normal soon Maggie!

Lover of Books said...

I don't spend a lot of time at night outside if I can help it. I am allergic to Mosquitoe bites. Yup, allergic. I get five and they get bad if I scratch them. I got one near my eye and it swelled shut for a day or so. I had ones that actually brought pain and I didn't break skin.

Krista

Sheila Connolly said...

That's really scary. I'm glad you found help.

Around here we have mosquito-borne EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis). This year it's early, and it's deadly--a young horse died in my town. It can kill people. The state is going to do aerial spraying this week (is that better or worse than risking a bite?).

Of course, the recommendations include wearing long sleeves and pants outside (uh, excuse me? It's 90 degrees in the shade), and not going out between dusk and dawn (how'm I going to barbecue?). And spraying yourself with nasty chemicals every time you leave the house.

Does the world keep getting more treacherous or what?

Maggie Sefton said...

Linda---Yikes! 27 bites!! Whoa. . .can you stand across the yard and water?

Babs----Cover up and spray and enjoy the water. Where are you located.

Maggie Sefton said...

Thanks, Dru. I'm wearing my long sleeved & pants "mosquito outfit" when I'm outside in evening now.

Deb----Whoa! That's seriously scary, girl.

Andrea---Thanks. That itch subsided on Saturday and I was back to normal by Sunday. Yay!!

Helen Kiker said...

A good warning for all of us. Thanks for letting us know how bad it can get.

Thank goodness you finally won the battle with Leroy.

Helen Kiker

Cricket said...

Glad your alright, that is very scary. I also get red and swollen at the site of a bite, but have never had anything like that happen, thank goodness.

Did you know that it is usually the female that bites and needs blood? Males are content with nectar from fruit and such. Females need a blood nutrient, I guess for laying eggs or something? Anyway just a bit of info.

Glad your better. I'll using my repellent whenever I go out. Thanks for sharing.

Maggie Sefton said...

Whoa, Krista---that's sounds serious. No wonder you don't go out.

Sheila---Eeuuuwww! Another bad virus! Yuck! Well, I have sworn to return to my "mosquito outfit" of long sleeves, pants to be outside in evening. Yeah. . .bummer, but at least that keeps me safe---ESPECIALLY since I spray all over the outfit with mosquito spray. Then they'll leave me alone. And there are some unscented sprays out there now which I use whenever I go out with friends in the evening--which is frequently. Only way to sit in outdoor cafes, which is SO lovely here in Ft Collins.

Rural View said...

We live out in the country and our bats have mysteriously disappeared so the bugs are plentiful and they like me too. Deer fly bites are my nemesis and I'm on the lookout always for ticks because we have lots of deer. So glad they finally treated you sufficiently to make you better. Sounds awful.

Linda McDonald said...

Oh Maggie, what a bummer. I hope you feel better really soon. That Leroy really got you! I have not gotten bitten by anything, but i have now come down with some sort of weird rash....apparently some type of allergy. If only I knew what it is that is causing it. Still, nothing near as serious as yours. Take Care!

Nanc said...

First of all let me say that I am so glad you are on the mend!!! We live in MI and this year has been horrible! I have spray by each door that we all use anytime we walk out day or night. We live up on a hill and usually can sit outside with no problem as the "up breeze" chases them away...not this year! I have also noticed the absence of our usual bat patrol...
Stay safe and take care...we all need to be vigilant :-) Let's band together to Take Down, Leroy!!!
Nanc

Maggie Sefton said...

Helen--You're welcome. I hope you and your family stay healthy.

Cricket---You're absolutely right. It's the females that are deadly. But we didn't have a Jim Croce song with "Bad, bad Loretta Brown. . . " :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Rural---Wow, I wonder what happened to all your bats? Too bad. They eat a LOT of mosquitoes.

Linda---That rash could be related to an allergy. Check it out.

You got it, Nanc. Death to Leroy! (And his friends).

Lindy said...

That lousy Leroy deserves to be taken out. May he and his brother (sisters?)get the slap of death before he gets anyone else. Bugs don't like me, and I don't like them. I'm sorry the Leroys gave you such a hard time, Maggie, and I'm glad you are doing better.

Linda McDonald said...

Thanks Maggie...your post convinced me to make a doctor's appt, so I'm going in after work today. You're right...best to get it checked out. Glad you are feeling better!

Maggie Sefton said...

Thanks, Lindy---As of Sunday, the redness was gone finally and the itching disappeared. Took a week. Whew! Those were tough mosquitoes.

Linda---Were you bitten, too? If it's red and swollen, you're right to get it checked. Let us know. you can email me maggie@maggiesefton.com

Knittermama57 said...

I used to get bitten a lot as a teenager,on my lips, on my eye everywhere. We would spend time on our boat and encounter the dreaded green-headed flys. The bite itself hurt like a mini-dog bite. Nothing worked except strong doses of deet spray

Vickie said...

{{HUGS}} and so glad you are feeling better. And thank you for the big cranium's up reminder to take monitor our children when they are outdoors.

Maggie Sefton said...

Knittermama----Oooooo, what sounds awful. I can't imagine them on lips and eyelids. Yikes!

Vickie---thanks, Vickie. yes, take care of the kids. They're tender targets.

Pooch said...

Maggie, Be very, very careful! Don't let the Dr. diminish West Nile. It can be much more than very bad flu! I live in NE CO and was diagnosed with West Nile in 2006 @ the Greeley Hospital when a blood test was finally devised to test for WN. I had been quite ill for 2.5 yrs prior to that and had to retire from my beloved teaching career because of it. :( I was tested for many possible illnesses with guesses pointing toward WN.

It still flares up a couple of times a year. It does develop into encephalitis in some people. An aquaintance was hospitalized for approx 10 months because of brain damage and needing to rehab in Loveland to learn motor and speech skills.

I'm so glad you are feeling better and commend you for getting the word out. I hope that our many CO tourists know to take precautions and enjoy our glorious state without any unwanted souvenirs!
:)