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Sunday, June 26, 2011

PANIC is Contagious

Facebook can be rather entertaining sometimes. Today a woman posted a thread declaring that she had been stung on the foot by a red wasp. Well, she went on to say that it hurt, her foot was red, it was swollen, she thought there was a red streak running up her leg, and she was really worried and ALL ALONE.

Now in my life I have been stung by a few wasps and other stinging varmints. Each time as I recall it hurt, it got red, it swelled, and I don't remember about any red streaks. In any case the treatment was some ice, a Benadryl, a few cuss words, and even in the old days we rubbed tobacco on the wound. 59 years later I am still alive.

Back to Facebook.....the last time I looked there had been 66 comments to this woman's thread. Some were urging her to RUSH to the ER or urgent care but she was resistant because she had no insurance. Others were spreading doom and gloom reciting diatribes on the hazards of anaphylactic shock and "blood poisoning". I am uncertain of the qualifications of those giving this advice. Others were volunteering to drive to her place (since she was all alone) and RUSH her to the ER. She had several suggestions for immediate Benadryl, which she had already done. One suggested taking up a collection so she could afford to go to the doctor. Others voiced how "scared" they were for her.

In any case, 66 comments and several hours later, this girl was still alive and kicking as are the rest of us who have survived a red wasp sting. The only real treatment for this is ice, Benadryl, a topical anesthetic, and time, but it was interesting to watch how the panic snowballed into a frenzy and if she had succumbed to the frenzy she would have made a COSTLY and UNNECESSARY visit to the doctor. And OH THE DRAMA!

I was tempted to throw in my 2 cents but I make it policy NOT to discuss medical issues away from my friendly ER and certainly not on a social network site. I am not sure why people would want to bring up medical problems on Facebook anyway, but then again there are those that discuss their back pain and bowel movements.....go figure....

For the record, some people are truly allergic to stings. Within about 15 or 20 minutes of the sting these folks will usually break out in hives, will sometimes become short of breath, will sometimes have swelling of the face or throat, and sometimes pass out from low blood pressure. These folks require emergency medical attention. Most of these people are aware they are allergic and know what to do. SWELLING AROUND THE STING, REDNESS, AND PAIN IS NOT AN ALLERGIC REACTION. EVERYONE WILL HAVE THIS TO SOME DEGREE.

Ahhh yes, Facebook! Oh the DRAMA!

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