Last year I contracted Lyme's Disease while painting en plein air.
I neglected to wear bug spray; I was walking in weedy fields and the woods; I wore shorts and loose fitting tops. I didn't shower as soon as I left the field. I did everything wrong.
After my first day of painting, I was covered in insect bites....so, I bought some insect repellant but....it was apparently too late. I painted for five days during this contest in Pennsylvania and by the next weekend, when I arrived home, I was feeling tired and drained of all energy. I had one particularly red insect bite in the very middle of my back which I kept watching throughout the following week. All other mosquito and gnat bites disappeared, but this bite remained red and angry.
Meanwhile, I was feeling just awful. I would wake up in the morning around 7 am, and nap again at 10 am. I'd fall asleep again at 2 pm and then sleep all night. I felt achy. I had headaches. I was dragging myself to teach my classes.....as time progressed, I began to feel incredibly ill.
I was almost grateful when, at the end of that second week, a pale red "bull's eye" rash formed around that one insect bite in the very middle of the back.
Now, I knew what was making me sick. I had Lyme's Disease. This was readily confirmed by blood tests and my physician, and I was immediately placed on a round of antibiotics.
So, painters! Watch yourself and take all precautions you can and read up about Lyme's Disease. I now wear long pants with socks tucked over them and I spray my clothing with spray containing DEET. I tend to paint along the road, instead of in the weeds. I shower immediately after finishing,
Happy painting, everyone, and take care of yourself out there in the field.....
Italy and living "la vita dolce."
7 years ago