There was an old man of
St. BeesKamakura,Who was stung in the arm by a wasphornet,When asked, "Does it hurt?"He replied, " No, it doesn'tYes, I'm so glad it wasn't a hornetBut the swelling is going down now."(with apologies to W. S. Gilbert)
After all the photos of hornets in the locality, I suppose it was only a matter of time. I was minding my own business, cycling off to [a sneaky early morning swim before] work on Friday, when I suddenly felt the proverbial hot nail in my arm. I didn't get a good look at it, and by the time I'd stopped the bike it had gone, so I'm not quite sure what type it was, but it certainly wasn't as big as the huge monsters we sometimes see and I assumed it was just a wasp of some sort.
On Saturday, however, the swelling spread from my fingers almost to my shoulder, and my forearm was also blistering a bit. So I toddled off to a doctor who got a nurse to smear my arm in gunk and wrap it up like a mummy, and also prescribed various potions and pills. I suppose with hindsight it would probably have been better to go sooner, but it really didn't seem bad on Friday.
The shiny sheen is some cream, but my hand is not usually this shape or colour! Unlike what people say about mukade (centipede) bites, it never made me feel ill, but the swelling did make it dificult to grip things or bend my arm much. I've had a google for likely species, and based on what I've read I think it might have been any of a giant hornet (though if so, not a huge model), or the yellow hornet, or perhaps one of these paper wasps (ashinaga, long-legged, in Japanese). But as I said, I didn't really see more than a quick glimpse of a yellow and black striped body, facing away from me.
The Doctor warned me (and the intenet concurs) that the first sting is usually safety, but the second one is very danger, due to the chance of an anaphylactic shock. Not sure what can be done really, living where we do. But although there are about 20 deaths per year in japan (making the hornet the most dangerous animal here by some distance), this is stil a very small number really, when you compare it to eg 15 deaths per day on the roads. So I don't think there is anything to panic about. There seems to be a possibility of a blood test to diagnose an allergy, which I will look into.
Anyway, by Monday night it's just about back to normal.