What grass bit me and how do I best deal with the pain?
July 14, 2019 2:57 AM   Subscribe

Everything was fine tonight at Griffith Park in L.A. until we packed up to leave. I picked up the cloth we'd been sitting on and BOOM suddenly it felt like my finger was on fire. The pain has receded just a bit in the four hours since.

It's just one finger but WOW is it painful. It's a little swollen, but not discolored, and I can't see anything that can be taken out by a tweezer. It feels like a lot of hot pins have been inserted. What the hell? Putting it in cold water doesn't help.
posted by goofyfoot to Science & Nature (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Spider bite?
posted by pharm at 2:59 AM on July 14, 2019

I felt no bite.

Finger's getting really swollen now.
posted by goofyfoot at 3:52 AM on July 14, 2019

Take a benadryl and an advil if you're not allergic to those over the counter medications. Mark the current edge of the swelling with a sharpie marker. Make an appointment to have your finger looked at as soon as you reasonably can, consider going to urgent care when they open. (this is probably not a visit to the emergency room unless your finger becomes hot to the touch or you develop a fever)

It absolutely could be a bite.
posted by bilabial at 3:57 AM on July 14, 2019 [17 favorites]

Definitely sounds like a bite or sting. Maybe a fire ant?

Insect bites/stings can (rarely) cause anaphylaxis. At the four hour point, I doubt an anaphylactic reaction is likely, but if you start feeling symptoms elsewhere in your body - especially face swelling, dizziness/lightheadedness, or trouble breathing - get to the ER. Have someone take you or call an ambulance and ask them to bring epinephrine.

I agree with bilabial’s recommendation of Benadryl + Advil + doctor when you can get in.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:39 AM on July 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

California does have stinging nettles and I remember having such a response as a kid-- went to pick a flower and oh shit my hand. But I don't remember anything actually making it feel better except waiting it out (about a day) so best to follow the other advice here, just in case.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:48 AM on July 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

A fire ant bite would totally feel like that- you’ll get what looks like a little Whitehead in the next day or two.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:16 AM on July 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sounds like it could be a scorpion sting. The poison they inject can cause pain for a long time.

When I was stung on the foot in bed there was very little swelling but the pain was pretty strong for a few hours. The amount of pain was way beyond what it looked like. It was less swollen than a mosquito bite and there was little or no discoloration. I didn't have any systemic symptoms so I just waited it out. YMMV.
posted by jclarkin at 7:13 AM on July 14, 2019

You can buy some calamine lotion to keep around for bites. It has clay to draw out oozing from a bite or sting, and something to help with itching. Some people are very sensitive to histamines, which some insect stings carry. Wait it out, avoid chocolate for a day, chocolate has histamines and might worsen your reaction to the bite.
posted by Oyéah at 9:24 AM on July 14, 2019

I stepped on a yellow jacket barefoot once (Wikipedia confirms that they nest in, among other places, leaf litter and soil cavities) and the sting hurt quite a bit, with only a slight remission from the original pain level, for about 24 hours. So that would be my guess.
posted by bricoleur at 9:45 AM on July 14, 2019

Another option might be that you tore a ligament or a tendon or even snapped a bone. My big burly football player of a husband snapped a tendon in his pinky taking a large roasting pan out of the oven. He said the pain was a searing pain and terrible! I hope you feel better quickly.
posted by Sunnyshe at 9:46 AM on July 14, 2019

I got into stinging nettle earlier this year just as a friend was saying "watch out for that stinging nettle there". HOLY SHIT! That stuff burns. It kept me awake that night and itched and burned for 2 days. I was way back in a cabin in the woods and didn't have access to a pharmacy but there is stuff you can try if you think that's what you got into. Good luck, I feel for you.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:45 PM on July 14, 2019

If there’s any swelling, take off any rings from that hand, if you haven’t already.
posted by suncages at 6:41 PM on July 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

It really does sound like a fire ant. Do y'all have fire ants there? As ThePinkSuperhero said, it may come to a little head in a couple of days. In my experience you can squeeze it or not, it doesn't seem to make a difference in how it feels or how quickly it heals.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:12 AM on July 15, 2019

Yes, we just called them red ants when I was a kid.
posted by brujita at 12:07 PM on July 15, 2019

I ate an eight-year-old Vicodin to get to sleep Sunday morning! STILL have no idea what the hell it was, but a friend who works in the park thinks I surprised a wasp when I picked up and shook out the blanket.

Was fine by the next day. But WOW that really hurt! I felt nauseated - you know that kind of pain where your other organs get involved? That.
posted by goofyfoot at 8:45 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

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