Thursday 18 September 2014

Allergy #1: Bug Bites And Stings

I think it's been 9 days since the insect bite; definitely not a sting, just one sting and I swell up, this was definitely a bite, but from what?

Hopefully not from one of these f%&£ing things:

killer mosquitoes uk

Now I know it's The Star and that means most of their front pages - and general content - are just made up rubbish but I've spent the last nine days feeling absolutely dreadful with a bite on my wrist that resembled - what can only be described as - a large unwell nipple.

Seeing this front page today makes me a) want to buy something like bee keeping get up to wear out b) makes me want to remain indoors, indefinitely.

But then of course, I got bitten indoors, so nowhere is safe. As if I wasn't in enough of a constant insect fuelled anxiety riddled state.

When I was 19 the adventurous teenager that I was flew seventeen and a half hours across the globe to the Tropics. I'd always had problems with bites though I'd never been stung at this stage, so I made very sure that I had a lot of insect repellent with me.

A few carefree days into the trip I noticed that I had no bites - which was odd - I was always being bitten in London. Then I realised, I hadn't been putting any insect repellent on because I was so obsessive about covering myself in mega factor sun cream that I'd forgot.

Uh oh. I'd been lucky, really lucky.

So the next few days I made absolutely sure that I obsessed about the sun cream and the insect repellent, so far so good. That was until I went on this group trip with a local guide, he would take us to the non-touristy bits finishing up at a seemingly run down cafe (which I saw about a year ago on Triple D) where I had amazing authentic cooked in the ground Hawaiian Pulled Pork. 

But before the Pulled Pork - which I still remember to this day many, many moons later - he took the group on a hike through a rainforest. I'd never been on a hike before and I'd certainly never been to a rainforest. It was stunning. We reached the hike destination which was a truly beautiful waterfall and all the group decide to stand under it - little safe waterfall not big scary waterfall - except me because it was lovely enough just to see it, I didn't need to get soaking wet, unable to dry myself and spend however long on a coach for the rest of the day.

Plus I had ciggies in my pocket and they didn't sell my brand there so there was that. No one else thought about things they might have on their person - namely large denomination dollar bills - so that was quite the amusing sight seeing people trying to dry them out on rocks hoping that a breeze didn't send them flying. A few minutes under a waterfall resulted in seriously soggy dough.

So as the group hike back out of the rainforest I'm feeling quite pleased with myself; I'm not wet and neither is my money. I am however, very, very itchy.

The tour guide then takes us to the side of Oahu that as a tourist you wouldn't normally see; countless streets of little tin houses near to which was the cafe. Pulled Pork eaten and thoroughly enjoyed then it was drop off time at the various hotels.

There is photographic evidence of what had happened to me in that rainforest - not that I'd want to share if I knew where it was because I'm nice like that - taken a few hours after the trip had finished, it was only then apparent. 

I'd been wearing a short button up t-shirt dress and from the hem line at the top of my legs down to my ankles I had been bitten.............. 36 times.... wait for it....

On both legs.

But only the back of my legs and nowhere else.

Thankfully I was heading home in a couple of days and despite the constant itching - despite pulling numerous lotions and potions on - the best thing was that I couldn't see them. Not the full extent anyway because the majority of them were quite near my arse.

I was only when I got back to work that I had my photos developed during lunch and saw the full horror.

I thought my legs felt a bit bigger than usual but my jeans fitted so I didn't take much notice, everything else was the same size. Then a few days later - by now I can't wear my jeans because they rub on the bites, still terribly jet lagged and feeling horrible - my cargo trousers (I'm dating myself here) were a bit on the tight side which I brushed off as post holiday weight gain, I still didn't factor in that it was only my legs.

A few days later I go to a gig, get very merry and generally have a wonderful time (this is a story in itself, a very funny story but not one for here). When I wake up after very little sleep the itching has stopped, I go show my mum and the majority of the bites were no longer angry red bumps, more like pin-pricks. A few days later they were all gone and my swollen legs now skirtable again.

A few things:

1. As someone who has horrible reactions to bites and stings maybe I shouldn't have gone hiking in a Tropical rainforest. But I was nineteen.

2. My guess is that the back of my legs were targeted because the insect repellent wore of on the coach seat. I didn't re-apply I guess.

3. I assumed that the swelling in my legs was due to the amount of times I'd been bitten but there's always been a nagging suspicion that I may have also had thrombosis from the long haul flight back. (I have no idea if that could be cured by a night of heavy drinking, music and fun. In my happy little world I'd like to think that could cure all)

4. If you think this is bad consider what happened when a wasp stung me; Visualise blown up Marigold gloves.

5. Yes I am one of those people you see running down the road screaming, arms flailing everywhere with flying bitey things chasing me.

I currently have a small dried out blister on my wrist instead of a large unwell looking nipple but it's not good, is it? Especially as I have no idea what bit me. Now there's - well according to The Star of course - killer mosquitoes roaming the airspace. 

Excuse me while I pop off and buy myself one of these.

Keep safe people :)

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