Friday, June 1, 2012

Spontaneous Breakout

Tiny little dots emerge randomly all over my body. These dots stay tiny but they itch like a lion. They come and go on various places of my body and seem not to be related to exposure, heat, or any other common factor. There might be five or six dots at any given time – perhaps one on the knee, one on the arm, one on the ribs, one on a finger. They don’t spread and they don’t break open when itched (I can’t help it), but they do get inflamed a bit…probably from the itching.

This odd breakout has been happening since the beginning of my time in Africa and happens only when I’m in Africa. Yet, what could be the cause? At first I thought bed bugs might be the pesky culprit but one random dot here and another random dot there just doesn’t seem to fit the bill. I thought of some kind of pest living in my clothing and nibbling on me when trapped but the dots appear in places not covered by clothing too.

I’ve almost come to believe the cause is internal. Stress? They’ve not hive-like. Allergic response? Seems too random to be soap or food related. Mephaquin? Hmm…I don’t think this is a side effect but a bit of research might be useful.

Four new “bites” (for lack of a better word) appeared on my knee. I’m sure these bites are unrelated to the tiny dots but they itch 100 times worse. Raised and pussy, they grow to something definitely not mosquito bite-like. The giant red welts with pussy white centers draw the attention and the puzzlement of the many healthcare workers among the church community. If they had poison ivy here I might think it belonged to that family, but they have nothing of the kind nor was I exposed to such a thing. The bites must have come either while bathing or while dressing as they were discovered shortly thereafter. My comfy bed and protective net here in Nakapiritpirit allowed for a restful sleep (sans the sounds of the rats running around the room).

Perhaps I need a book about tropical medicine.