Horsefly Bites Beware

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Approximately one in four patients this summer at the Urgent Care Center in Avalon have been experiencing allergic reactions to horsefly bites. I was lucky enough to be one of them during my vacation – oh joy.

Last Sunday, I was sitting on a boat with friends, beer cracked, bathing suit on and ready to start my week ‘down the shore’ when a nasty little horsefly decided to welcome me to Avalon. It felt like a regular horsefly bite and, at first, it looked like a regular horsefly bite so I continued my fun with only a very itchy hand to distract me. A few hours later, I was sitting at dinner at the Princeton and glanced down at my hand because my wedding rings were starting to become uncomfortable. To my surprise and horror, my hand was swelling up like a balloon (the picture was just the beginning of the swelling). I quickly removed my rings and grabbed ice from my water glass to stop the swelling. The ice melted almost immediately and my hand continued to grow in size until you could no longer see my knuckles or wrist bone. My husband supportively observed, “You have man hands!”

After dinner and throughout the night, I continued to keep a cold compress on my hand hoping that it would be back to normal in the morning. I had no such luck. My next thought was, I should definitely get some Benadryl in my system but my EMT friend, Travis, advised my otherwise. He urged me to go directly to urgent care and I am so thankful that I listened to his advice. The doctor told me that one in every four patients this summer has had a very bad reaction to horsefly bites – swelling, infection, rash, etc. He has never seen it so bad. I asked him if I could have just taken some Benadryl and he said, definitely not.

 He prescribed cortisone and my hand started to look normal again after about three days. Please make sure if you are ‘down the shore’ or enjoying your summer outdoors where horseflies run rampid, make sure you take extra precaution and immediately see your doctor if swelling occurs. If not, infection might set in and then you will definitely be out of commission for longer than just a few days.

Meghan Kelly

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