Bot fly myiasis is a condition that is guaranteed to literally and figuratively make the skin crawl. Ranging from Mexico to Central America, the female bot fly lays her eggs on the underside of a mosquito. When the mosquito bites a human, body heat causes the eggs to hatch into larva, which penetrate the skin and become embedded in the victim's flesh. This infestation is called myiasis, and the initial symptom is a small nodule on the skin that grows over the course of several weeks. Frequently painful, the centre of the nodule contains a small hole the larva uses to breathe. Although myiasis presents no health risk, discomfort often dictates removal of the larva. While sometimes removed surgically, bot fly larva are most often removed with at-home treatments.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Petroleum jelly or beeswax
Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly or beeswax over the nodule. This will suffocate the larva and force it to rise from the hole to get air. Use forceps or tweezers to remove the larva when it becomes exposed. Clean the wound and apply a disinfectant after removal.
Soak the affected area in hot water, then apply a gentle downward and inward pressure to the sides of the nodule to expose the larva. Use forceps or tweezers to remove the larva. Then clean the wound and apply a disinfectant.
Visit a health care professional to have the larva removed using a surgical procedure if you prefer to not remove it yourself with at-home techniques. Using a local anaesthesia, the health care professional will use a scalpel to enlarge the breathing hole so that the larva can be extracted. A course of prescription antibiotics may be prescribed after surgical removal to avoid a secondary infection.
Tips and warnings
- After larva removal, the wound should heal in approximately two weeks with little or no scarring.
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