An Australian tourist on holiday in Bali has been by the swift action of Bali medical staff. Clea Ward, 23, was in Bali celebrating her brother’s 21st birthday with their family. Ward has taken to social media to praise Bali medical teams after a severe allergic reaction left her needing urgent medical care.
Ward, who has a peanut allergy, stopped for ice cream along Kuta Beach. She checked and double-checked that the ice cream was safe for her to eat, which she was assured that it was. Within minutes Ward began vomiting and is described to have had her eyes roll into the back of her head.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Ward explained, ‘Within a couple of short minutes, I felt the back of my throat tingling and my mouth got super itchy…I took some antihistamines, and I thought it settled, so we went for a walk on the beach to release baby sea turtles’.
Despite taking the antihistamines to curb the reaction, the medication made little difference. Joining her family and friends at a bar on Kuta Beach, Ward said that her vision became blurry, and she felt light-headed. She told reporters, ‘One of our friends tried standing me up, and I just fell onto the sand and started vomiting…It felt like I was in and out of it, and my eyes kept rolling to the back of my head. I couldn’t really process what was happening’.
She continued to explain, ‘Usually the first symptom I get when I have an allergic reaction is hives and swelling of my tongue and lips, which I didn’t have. Ward, and her family and friends were concerned by the unusual systems she was displaying. Beginning to wonder if she had a case of sunstroke or the uncomfortable onset of ‘Bali Belly’ they started to splash her with cool water to bring her around.
A local woman on the beach saw the situation playing out and advised the family to take Ward to the Balawista Badung Surf Lifesaving Tower. Ward carries two EpiPens on her at all times since her peanut reaction is so severe.
Yet the reaction she experienced on Kuta Beach was very different from anything she had felt before. Ward shared with reporters what happened next, she said ‘They had their own ambulance at the tower so they loaded me onto a spinal board and into the ambulance to take me to hospital’.
‘An Aussie who was sitting next to our group helped out, I remember looking up at him and thinking who’s this stranger helping me…I was put in the ambulance still vomiting everywhere’. Ward was taken by ambulance to the Code Blue Medical Centre, which is conveniently located just opposite her holiday accommodation.
Ward praised the hospital for the ‘incredible’ treatment she received. She described the service as ‘quick’ and ‘comforting’. After arriving at the hospital, in many ways, the worst was yet to come. She said, ‘My throat was burning and stinging, and I remember grabbing one of the nurse’s hands and begging her to make it go away’.
Medical teams got to work immediately and flushed her system with medication. Despite the pain and discomfort, her extreme symptoms began to subside. ‘It was super scary for my family watching me like that, but the staff were so friendly and were trying to comfort all of us…I will forever be grateful to those who helped me, and if it wasn’t for them, it could have been a completely different story’.
Ward did not share what medical professionals thought caused her unusual allergic reaction. In unrelated incidences in Bali in recent weeks, families have warned parents not to allow their children to get black henna tattoos while at the beach or visiting markets. Black henna tattoos in Bali have left children and adults with severe allergic reactions and scarring.
Visitors to Bali have also been warned about Tomcat Rash during the rainy season. Contact with the toxic insect can cause a painful, blistery rash that sometimes has taken weeks, even years, to heal.
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