Attacked By A Bat!!

While previewing the XTerra 15k course in Monte Sano state park in Huntsville, AL I had a strange encounter.  An hour or so into the run just after getting on Mountain Mist trail coming from the South Plateau trail a bat flew into the left side of my head.  The bat held onto my ear and scratched the side of my head and my ear.  When it flew into my ear it felt like a someone hit me with their fist.  Knowing how small a bat it I immediately felt like it was a hawk or something.  I was running with Martin, Paul and Rick.  Martin was directly behind me when the critter hit me.  Martin seemed sure that it was a bat.  Regardless what it was I was freaked out.

Strava data from the run. (https://www.strava.com/activities/827999418)

Is it a Big Deal?

I immediately thought, “Oh Shit! I’ve gotta get shots”  I had some memory that it was a bad to get scratched by a bat but couldn’t remember details.  A quick conversation with the others and we collective decided that I probably didn’t need to worry.  However, I new I had been scratched pretty bad.  I had blood on my hand when rubbing my head after getting the bat off me.  But, for that night, we finished out the run and I headed home.

The next day at work I was telling a few co-workers about it.  It was a funny story and everyone was entertained except for one guy.  Bubba’s wife is an emergency room doctor.  As soon as he heard the story he said, “If you wait till you get symptoms of Rabies, you’ll die”.  I had asked him if he would ask his wife her opinion about what I would do.  He said he would but he knew what I needed to do.  After a few minutes of research, I knew he was correct. I called my family doctor and they told me to go to the ER.  So, I headed out to see what was next.

Once in the ER

Once in the ER, they confirmed that I did indeed need to get treated for Rabies.  I guess technically you have eight days after the contact.  After eight days, you’re screwed if you get Rabies.  The chance of surviving after experiencing a symptom is very unlikely.  I’m not going to bother linking to any sites.  If you’re reading this, you should search and find whatever the latest information is if you’re concerned.

The point of this blog is to let any ultra runner interested know that if you get bit or scratched by any wild animal, you need to go to the ER, let them know and you’ll likely need to get vaccinated.  When you need to be extra concerned is when the animal in question is behaving out of character.  Normally, animals aren’t interested in coming in contact with humans, so if it happens, you can assume that perhaps the animal is sick.

Bats are especially bad when it comes to Rabies.  Raccoons, rodents, and dogs are equally as worrisome.

Rabies treatment sucks.  After coming into contact with an animal, you’ll have to have five separate vaccinations.  The first is especially gnarly.  Half of a 30 unit bottle of vaccine must be injected under the scratch or bite all around it.  Then the remainder of the vaccine is injected into your arm and bottom.  The needles used are not small.  For me, I have a headache and some muscle aches after each treatment.  Also, I just feel crappy for the evening.

I haven’t turned into a vampire or batman yet but my running buddies and co-workers haven’t given up.  I’ll update this blog entry if I do.