Monday, January 07, 2008

Attack Of The (Not Quite) Killer Wasps

The boy wanted to play some cricket yesterday evening. Once I'd finished cooking tea, a rarity I know, we went outside to play. After some 20-25 minutes he hit the ball back to me along the ground. Instead of bending down to pick it up I decided to stop it with my foot. The ball struck my foot and then launched itself over the fence dividing our property with that of our neighbour.

Yu-Jin looked at me as if what to do. This is a usual occurrence and I signalled that he would be going over the fence. I put him on top so that he could jump down. He did so and located the ball before throwing it back. I was waiting for him to climb the fence so that I could pull him over and he'd just started when he became frightened and climbed back down. Then he started screaming. When the flying insects began to appear I thought that they might have been bees but they were wasps.

Nothing for it but to jump the fence myself, grab him and run towards the other fence and get the hell out of there. After putting him over the fence I noticed a wasp hanging off my arm which I brushed away. We went straight inside and applied cold packs - the boy was stung on the right upper arm and above the left eye. I was stung on the left upper arm and right forearm.

My main concern for the boy, who said that "We should go to the hospital", was that he has a nut allergy and suffers a severe reaction to them. Only a couple of hours previously he had tried some turkish delight we had received for Christmas after I'd given him the go ahead even though the box contained a warning that it "May contain trace of Peanuts and other nuts". As soon as he took a nibble he knew that it had nuts in it. As Yu-Jin had never even been stung by a bee before I had no idea how he would react to a wasp sting.

Rang the hospital who transferred me to Health Direct, who can be called in Western Australia on 1800 022 222. Most of the questions were aimed at identifying if it was a snakebite or not and when I said that they were European wasps I was informed that they are very rare in Western Australia and that there is no known nest in Perth. Perhaps it was just a common wasp then as they have similar markings. If there were no nausea, stomach cramps, passing out, grey lips, swollen tongue or lips or severe pain within an hour then the cold packs were the best treatment but I just had to keep an eye on the little fella.

It's funny, in a way, as the weekend before I had discovered a wasp nest in the roof of our house and asked my father if he had ever been stung by a wasp as the boy wanted to know. No, was the answer. Well now we can tell dad what it is like to be stung twice each. It's discomforting and painful but not life threatening.

After talking to the nurse at Health Direct I noticed that one of my toes was hurting. Looking down at my socks I saw some blood. After taking off the sock I could see that my second toe had had the toenail bent backwards about halfway along so it's a tad painful and swollen this morning.

Ah, well. Just another experience to put down to life.


Susan Ham said...

I would like to know just what purpose these critters serve in the scheme of things.

Hammy said...

They eat a lot of other insects, so Wikipedia informs me.

Anonymous said...

I hope you both are better. They make bee sting kits at drug stores here and snake bight kits. Annette The bees love to land on me in a large group but, do not sting me. IT is very weird.