It’s not a good feeling when you realize that the red bites on your baby are not mosquito bites. It’s a horrible feeling when they start to develop a center, and you realize what they really are.
Kaylee had a few red bites on her body on Saturday night. At first, I shrugged it off thinking it must be a mosquito or some other random bug. I’d keep an eye on it. Sunday, she had several more, and I wondered if there was something in her bed. Que the washing and drying of all the linens, blankies, and fabric toys. On Monday morning, I got suspicious and took a closer look. Que the googling. I was picking up my phone to text my neighbor (she of this story) when she walked in and confirmed my suspicions. Kaylee had mango worms.
What’s a mango worm, you ask? A mango worm is the larvae of a mango fly that grows in large mammals…yes, including humans. It’s why we don’t dry anything outside or take fabric toys and blankets outside. The fly lays its eggs in something damp (ground, clothes, etc.). After they hatch, the larvae find a mammal and burrow into the skin. In humans, it causes a red “bite” that then becomes inflamed like a little boil. In the center of the bite is the little larvae…the “worm.” (If you want to see one, check out the link above.) And yes, you’ve got to get that little sucker out.
So, throughout the last couple of days, we have had the joy of holding down a screaming, squirming baby while we pop every last one of the 15 or 20ish wormies out of her little body. Though to be honest, some have not been that bad, and some have been removed with the help of Vaseline which makes it easier. Outside of the removal, it hasn’t seemed to bother my smiley, joyful girl that much.
For the life of me, I can’t pinpoint where she might have picked up so many bites. We don’t dry our clothes outside, and I’ve been strict about soft toys going out (again, because of this story). I had one pop up on my arm, but everyone else is clean. If I had to bet on one of my children getting mango worms, it would be the one that plays outside in the dirt all day. But here we are, we’ll probably never know.
As of tonight, I think we’ve gotten them all. And, fortunately, they don’t cause any kind of disease or lasting effect (except maybe some scars). Every missionary in Africa needs a gross bug story, right?