When insects attack…

In the past month or so, my body has basically been one big allergic reaction courtesy of Shanghai’s mosquitoes. They have a serious taste for me and I wish I knew why. Someone asked me if I ate bananas and claimed it was because of that…really?! I am somewhat skeptical…hmmmm bananas? I already know from past experience with Scottish midges and the odd Middle Eastern/American insect that I don’t react very well to their love, and my father is acutely allergic too but Shanghai has introduced me to a whole new level of Rachel allergy.

Just before my birthday last month in the middle of May, I was bitten on my left ankle where it swelled up to an elephantitus degree…as you can see below. I got medical advice from the international part of Huashan Hospital to their Worldwide Medical Center where they gave me a mild antihistamine and calamine lotion that basically did absolutely nothing for the grand sum of about 800 kuai. I wouldn’t recommend that place at all to be honest…colleagues and friends haven’t said too many good things about it either. This happened literally the day before I was to fly to Shenzhen then travelling onto Hong Kong, so I had no time to go back. When I got to Hong Kong, I saw my friend’s Korean doctor straight away who gave me a world of drugs that kicked it in 48 hours. So pleased it went that fast as (needless to say) it was not attractive at all. People at the Hong Kong art fair who I spoke to looked pretty horrified when they caught a glimpse. Eugh. Their reactions were fantastically inappropriate.

And this week…well, it just had to happen again but to an even worse degree and this time with infection. Why on earth not right?! It looks so angry below…that was late on Thursday night as fever town kicked in. The infection has really taken hold and spread across my system to my throat and chest making me feel like I’m 1000 degrees hot (I swear I could fry an egg on my skin), very far from well, lucid or normal, and, as I’ve said, not particularly attractive. It is rather disgusting looking to be honest, so my apologies if you have a sensitive disposition, or if you are eating…I just had to share. This time I went to Parkway Health to Dr. Allan Quek from Melbourne (fantastic chap, thank you Allan!) and although it is one of the most expensive clinics I think in Shanghai, they gave me super great advice, care and help. It’s so bad that money does buy good health care most of the time (I’m saying most here as you don’t always get the best advice, I know this from experience in the private healthcare system back in the UK)…good healthcare should be available to all. A fundamental flaw in the world as everyone knows. I have to thank my Mom who I sent photos to by e-mail I swear every few hours for advice, and my friends here who are amazing caring creatures, for dealing with Rachel during elephantitus times. I really have felt super rough the past few days and as ever, these things kick off my stomach-renal troubles. As everyone keeps on saying, I need to stop and let myself recover and most of all sleep. Rachel isn’t very good at doing nothing. I  was told by the doctor to cover up from now on and wear socks, if I can, at all times…so knee highs, and pop socks are going to be a trend this summer in Shanghai, and I’m going to start it. They’re going to be a great look with city shorts and denim pants…a total fashionista right? I wish. I’ll probably just look more geek.


  1. You have my sympathy. I lived for 2 years in Anhui, so suffered similarly and it was possibly the main reason why I never wanted to live in the mosquito zones of Chine again!

    1. I hope I don’t ever have to make that decision and my body will become more immune but they’re getting worse and worse! Can’t get over how powerful they are!

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