Why am I so itchy?
Its January and the windy season has begun and with the initial winds comes random itchiness from the Pica Pica. Translated to mean Itch Itch, this irritation is is due to vine called Mucuna Pruriens that is prevalent on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and other tropical countries. Used in some itching powders, the course hairs on the pods contain the proteolytic enzyme mucunain which causes itchiness.When the rain stops and the pods of this vine begin to dry out, the tiny fibrous hairs catch wind and sail throughout those countries.
The fairly intense itch lasts only a couple minutes, but the more you itch, the more you spread the invisible hairs around and drive them deeper into your skin. Once a spot has shown some relief, it is usually not long before another spot on your body is ready to be itched. These tiny fibers get everywhere! Clothing I haven’t worn since the winds started will be covered in them. My bed sheets, car seats, bras, and yes, even underwear!
While the fibers dusts swirling about San Juan del Sur can be highly irritating, I hear that to actually touch the dried bean pod is excruciating and lasts considerably longer. No thank you!