I was at the park in the late afternoon doing brisk walking exercise. I have been putting on a few kilos due to the good food that I have eating for the past few weeks. So I decided on a exercise regime to keep fit and shed my weight; and brisk walking is an exercise that I enjoy doing. After about 45 minutes of brisk walking, I saw a bench ahead of me and decided to take a break and drink some water. I always carry a bottle of water along with me about 500ml in size. The bench was shaded by a tall tree and I felt cool and relaxed. About 10 minutes later, I felt something on my skin and instinctively looked down on my left chest and saw a small caterpillar crawling on my upper chest. I brushed it off with my hand and did not give much thought to it.
The next day, I felt that my upper left chest was itching and there were patches of red spots on it. So I apply antiseptic cream on the affected skin and as it was still itching even after one hour, I apply calamine lotion as well. I carry on with my daily routine despite the discomfort. During the night after a shower, again I apply the antiseptic cream and calamine lotion before going to bed. The next morning I felt that the itch was getting more intense; and more red rashes appeared not only on my upper chest but also near the side of my chest. Apparently the antiseptic cream does not work and I took the time off to see a doctor. My fear was that the rashes could soon spread and the itch was getting more unbearable.
The doctor who saw me told me that it was eczema and started to ask me whether I took any medication or any food that could have caused it. I told him ‘no’. Then he continued with his question and asked me whether is there insect that could have drop on my chest for example – a caterpillar. Straight away I told him about the caterpillar experience in the Park. He diagnose it as a Caterpillar Rash and told me that the rashes on my chest was a allergic reaction to the caterpillar. However he reassured that this rash was not contagious and prescribe the necessary medicine to me.
I was given the following medicine. The first medicine is a cream called Elomet cream which I have to apply twice daily. There is no need to apply a lot of it, in fact I was told to apply sparingly on the affected skin. The second is in the form of a oral tablet which is Prednisolone 5mg per tablet each, 1 tablet to be taken 2 times daily. The third medicine was a oral tablet called Zyrtec which contains Cetirizine Hydrochloride 10mg per tablet, which I have to take 1 tablet 2 times a day. So I went back home and took my medication as prescribed. My reaction to the oral medication was that it make me feel very sleepy but the rashes is not so itchy anymore. The Elomet cream seems to stick on my skin even after a couple of hours. I thought it was supposed to be absorbed and then become dry. Anyway the rashes still appeared to be unchanged after the first day of medication though it was not longer itchy. It was only after the 3 day of continuous medication that the rashes finally disappeared. But to be fair, I took the 2 oral tablets for only 2 days and I discontinue it. The reason was because the itch was gone and I felt so sleepy that I could not focus on my work.
Now I still continued to go to the Park for exercise whenever I am free. But I am more observant whenever I sit on a bench or on the grass. My friend asked me whether I would kill a caterpillar if I see one near me. I told him definitely – No. Caterpillars and other insects have every right to be in this park. That is what nature is all about. However I would avoid caterpillar at all cost because of the itchy red rashes that they are capable of giving to anyone who cross their path. I still keep the medication in the fridge as it has a two year shelf life. And if there is another incident of caterpillar rash again ( hopefully not ) , I am now more knowledgeable on how to treat it.
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