Planning your first big trip? Advice and humor to get you through the process.
One reader experiences a case of the full-body creepy crawlies. Dr. Kvit Kvetchin, chief of the Rosstravels.com medical team, responds.
Dear Dr. K.,
On a recent trip to Athens I awoke at 2:00 A.M. itching from head to toe. When I checked myself in the mirror, all I could find was a small welt on my wrist. I treated it with hydrocortisone cream, but the itching persisted. I even pulled back my sheets and looked for bed bugs and found none. I live in fear of a re-occurence. Any advice?
--Concerned in Cambridge, USA
Full-body itching can have many causes, but several that stand out:
Morgellons syndrome can generate sensations of crawling or stinging. One sufferer claimed he had white fibers burrowing into his skin that were visible under a black light. He told Time magazine that one night he was looking into the mirror and saw one burrowing into his eye. If you start to itch again, strip down, grab a blacklight, and call me in the morning.
Mucuna pruriens are fuzzy bean pods that, when touched, can cause burning and itching that can last up to 30 minutes. The beans are found in tropical climates and their pods look like little chinchillas. Where were you before Athens?
But being that you write to me twice a week with a new ailment, I'm betting on a diagnosis of delusional parasitosis, in which the sufferer believes he is infested with parasites. Prior to losing his license for practicing without a license, Dr. Kvit Kvetchin, ADHD, was director of tropical diseases for the Lamb Vindaloo Community Hospital in Bang Su, India.
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