An insect bit me last night. You should have seen it, it was about four feet long. OK, four inches long. Well half an inch. But those are the worst. Just a little biting fly, but I actually felt it. I assume this means that by fly standards it had huge fangs. The reaction seems to bear that out: A swelling the size of an egg.
F*** I hope it’s not an egg.
I’m always reluctant to take antihistamines. I know the immune system is a learning entity, almost an animal in itself, and I worry – perhaps unreasonably – that drugs may interfere with learning. What if they’re like its cigarettes, calming it down for now only to leave it more irritable after? Nevertheless I took one (Piriton). I knew this bite was going to be a bad’un.
I also managed to dig out the insect bite cream (Anthisan; I know this is beginning to sound like product placement, but I want to be precise about what did – and didn’t – work), which seems to have been finding new pockets of my bag to hide in ever since the walk in Clare. Then I flooded the house with fly spray (Raid…). That little bastard was not going to get me while I was sleeping, I didn’t want to wake up looking like bubble wrap.
Due perhaps to side effects of the first-generation antihistamine I slept soundly, waking at one in the afternoon in a state of mild panic. As a way to stimulate myself into action I’d set a very unfinished version of the last blog post to be published automatically at 1:30. (If you look at the URL you can see the article was originally titled “I’m Asleep”.) So if it sounds like it was written in a rush, you know why.
Written in a rush, by a man suffering intense irritation all down one arm. While I was asleep the itching had kicked into insane-making gear. Though the swelling was only in the slashy part of the wrist – annoyingly in the way, should I feel like ending it all – the itching spread upwards to my elbow, sideways around until it met itself at the back, and outwards for several inches. You know that feeling? It was like the air around my forearm was itchy.
I had to visit the pharmacy later anyway, so I asked for some ideas. The only thing they had that I hadn’t tried though was Eurax, the anti-itch cream. This proved… absolutely ineffective. Nothing was working, and I was now in no-scratch hell. There was only one thing to do. Something I should have tried a lot sooner.
I think I learned this years ago, when I had an attack of orf. Orf is a virus you can only get from a sheep bite. It’s a long story. Even if I leave out the acid trip, it’s still a long story.
A sink full of water as hot as I could bear it. Immersed entire forearm, kept it there a while. Then ran cold water over the effected area. I did that just once. It’s been a couple of hours. The itching hasn’t returned. I recommend this method.
- Is there anything that actually works for huge, ugly, swelling, allergic mosquito bites? (ask.metafilter.com)
- A Guide to Hives: What They Are and How to Treat Them (brighthub.com)
- Fatal cocktail of common drugs putting elderly at risk (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)