Working in pest control is sometimes an advantage. It gives you some insider knowledge when it comes to things like residential pest problems and also, more recently it helped me when a GP got her diagnosis wrong.
Whilst playing at his friend’s house last week, I noticed my little boy had some spots on the back of his neck. Nothing major, I thought to myself, but I did wonder how he had got them. Later on when we returned home, my husband had to take our son’s top off since he had managed to cover himself in yoghurt at dinner and that’s when we noticed the rest of the spots.
Small pimples, some white-head like and some just red pinpricks, were on his shoulders, across his back and on his chest. We both immediately thought, uh oh, chicken pox. So being the concerned parents that we are, we rung ThamesDoc (our local out of hours GP service) and duly arranged an appointment for later that evening.
Taking a blanket in case he got cold, a drink in case he got thirsty, some snacks in case he got hungry, nappies in case he needed changing, money for the car park and several books for both us and him in case we were there for ages (highly likely!) we set off with ample time to spare; armed as though we were going away on holiday for at least a week. Arriving a good ten minutes early, which if you have kids you will know is pretty much a miracle, we declared our arrival and were sent through to the waiting room.
We were seen immediately, which was great, and the Doctor examined him and delivered the verdict: insect bites, not so great. What??? Apparently the spots were not large enough to be chicken pox, therefore the only explanation was insect bites. And this was where my pest control knowledge about biting insects came into play.
The “bites” were unlikely to be from fleas, which tend to bite their victim on ankles or wrists where you stroke/hold an infected animal and we hadn’t seen any cats/dogs recently. Bed bug bites are very very very itchy and my son wasn’t scratching at all, nor did they look like mosquito/horsefly bites – ditto re scratching. He hadn’t been in the garden that afternoon, so wasp or bee stings were very unlikely. Therefore, I was very dubious of her diagnosis and rather than cause a scene, we just said thank you and left quietly.
Sure enough the following day, said spots got bigger, started to blister and then over the next 24-48 multiplied and eventually scabbed over. So chicken pox it is. Needless to say, I won’t be seeing that particular doctor again, and yet again pest control knowledge came in handy at home. Its funny what working in pest control does to you (and your kids, eh Lynn!)…