Sunday, July 27, 2008

Petunia's Sudan Sickness #4462

Just when I thought I had escaped further sickness for a long while, I have a run in with a a seasonal bug called the Nairobi Fly, also known as the Acid Fly. If this red and black fly lands on your skin and you squash it to kill it, an acid-like substance secretes from its body and causes severe burns in that location. If it stays on your hands and you touch another part of your body it spreads. Here's the Wikipedia post for more info along with pics of the Nairobi Fly and an example of what it does to you:

"The name Nairobi fly is applied to two species of beetle which live in East Africa, Paederus crebinpunctatus and Paederus sabaeus [1]. They are species of the rove beetle genus Paederus, and are black and red in colour, and about 6–10 mm long [2]. They live in rotting leaves where they lay their eggs. The beetles neither sting nor bite, but their haemolymph contains pederin, a potent toxin which causes blistering. The toxin is released when the beetle is crushed against the skin. People are advised to brush or blow the insect off their skin to prevent irritation [1]. Heavy rains, sometimes brought on by El Niño events, provide the conditions for the Nairobi fly to thrive.Outbreaks have occurred in 1998 [1] and 2007 [3]."

And where has this wonderful little creature chosen to land on me? ON MY FACE!!!!!!!!!!! So I have these patches of swelling, blistering burns on my face, one right next to my left eye, a bigger one on my chin just below the right side of my mouth, and a few smaller ones on my left cheek. It hurts to open my mouth really wide or to smile (because it causes the skin around my eyes to crinkle). There's nothing I can treat this with because if you put ointment or anything on it it spreads. But they tell me to put "bicarbonate" (aka baking soda) on it to neutralize the acid. But a friend just told me to use toothpaste instead because I don't know where I would even start looking for baking soda. So I'm sitting here in my tent writing this blog post with toothpaste on my face. Just thought I'd give you all that mental image :)

Speaking of sicknesses, Simba was also sick once again (couldn't keep down any food for a week) and they made him fly to Nairobi to get it checked out. Turns out he has Malaria AND Hepatitis A. There seems to be never-ending concoctions of nasty things to get here. So Simba will be in Nairobi for a whole month. Hep A is the one that is transmitted through contaminated food/water, and it affects your liver. His eyes were a bit yellow when he left. He has to drink 5 litres of water a day, and not eat any fatty foods or drink alcohol for 3 months. Talk about a weight loss plan. I thought my India weight loss plan was pretty good, but this one is going to be nuts!

In order to stay well and healthy you need to drink lots of water, eat lots of fruits and veggies, take your multi vitami daily, and DON'T MOVE TO SUDAN :)


Cyd said...

Please come home now.

PlumFace said...

yuck! that really sucks, 'trice, and i hope your face is back in order by the time i see you next month!