From the moment we arrived on the continent, I discovered I had a new admirer on my travels. He loved me! Even when I tried my hardest to discourage his ardour with numerous potions, dressing modestly and avoiding being out too much in the areas he likes to lurk most at dawn and dusk, I still couldn’t shake him off!
I had a terrible reaction to his attention. The Mosquito
I had been getting bitten a LOT but, although they were swollen, annoying and itchy as hell, they always eventually simmered down to be covered by a new one.
Towards the end of my time in Sicily
Me being me, I didn’t want to make a fuss and I assumed they would clear up if I kept them clean and covered. My Mum had given me some Germaline New Skin which acts as a strong antiseptic plaster for hacks on fingers etc. In my wisdom, I decided this would be perfect for helping to heal the nasty wounds.
I applied the alcoholic concoction to my now festering, deep, open wounds. I tried not to pass out from the pain and then I continued on with my day. This went on for a few days, all the while the wounds were getting deeper.
By the time I got back to mainland Italy they were agony and I was beginning to feel generally unwell and lethargic. When I asked my host where I could find a local pharmacy she went bonkers when she saw the wounds and insisted on calling the pharmacy herself to explain the issue.
When I arrived at the pharmacy the two, very lovely, pharmacists went into dramatic action. They both insisted on thoroughly examining the bites, looking up the Internet and taking close up photos. Their English was limited and my Italian was almost non-existent at that point so we were starting to struggle. At this point, another local came in who turned out to be a pharmacist at another local shop and he spoke perfect English – what are the chances!
So now I had three pharmacists peering over my festering sores and a queue of local Italians watching on in fascination/ maybe disgust.
After much discussion, translation, photo taking, insistence that they looked like poisonous spider bites and that they had never seen any bites as bad as this (cue me, for the first time starting to get a bit worried), they spoke to a local Doctor on the phone and it was agreed that I would visit the surgery that evening.
It turned out that my bites had become infected, it was systemic, a version of Impetigo, and I needed a strong course of oral antibiotics along with other lotions and potions. I got into trouble for leaving it so long and was told I was lucky I hadn’t developed Sepsis. Fortunately, I only have a few scars instead.
Lesson learnt that sometimes always saying “It’s fine” is not the best course of action.
I want to give a shout out to Allessandra, my host, who was so helpful; to my nurse friends who saw the photos on Facebook and sensibly suggested the bites looked infected and to get them checked out, to all three pharmacists who were so patient and concerned, and to the wonderful Doctor who saw me at short notice and got me sorted out properly!
If you are in a mozzy heavy area, don’t forget to bring some strong repellent, keep covered up as much as possible and don’t be a dingus and ignore it if the bites turn bad!