Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan encounters toxic caterpillars, says he's 'lucky to be alive'

24 January,2024 12:40 PM IST |  Los Angeles  |  mid-day online correspondent

Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan was on holiday in Portugal with friends when he started suffering from heart attack symptoms, which were most likely to have been caused by `toxic` caterpillars.

Actor Jamie Dornan

Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan said that he's 'lucky to be alive' after he encountered toxic caterpillars during his holiday. The Hollywood actor was on holiday in Portugal with friends when he started suffering from heart attack symptoms, which were most likely to have been caused by 'toxic' caterpillars.

He had to be hospitalised due to the pain, reports His friend also experienced some of the symptoms while they were at the golfing resort. Doctors asked the actor's friend how much they had to drink the night before concluding that the symptoms were caused by caterpillars.

"It turns out we'd brushed up against hairy processionary caterpillars and have been very lucky to come out of that one alive," said Jamie's friend Gordon Smart.

Speaking on The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected, Gordon explained how they had a 'great' first day at the hotel. Barely 24 hours later, he started feeling 'tingling in his left hand and tickling in his left arm'.

The tiny hairs of the caterpillars have an irritating protein called thaumetopoein. It could cause painful skin, eye and throat irritations and rashes and, in rare cases, allergic reactions.

Gordon explained, "We had a great time the first day, played loads of golf, went out, lots of wine was drunk and then we got on to espresso martinis.

"Anyway, the next day, we played golf, we were all absolutely dreadful and I started to feel tingling in my left hand and then tickling in my left arm. I'm the son of a GP and thought, 'This is normally the sign of the start of a heart attack.' Now, I'm a fairly healthy guy but once you start thinking, you're having a heart attack, you're pretty sure that you're convincing yourself that you are having one."

When he got to a local medical centre, a nurse found that his heart rate was 120 beats a minute and he quickly found an Uber to the hospital.

The star 'collapsed' and woke up "in a hospital bed attached to a machine with a doctor saying, 'What have you been doing young man?'"

"At that point, he asked me a list of what we'd had to drink the day before as a Scottish man in Portugal, when you start saying, 'Well, I think there were nine bottles of white wine, I had six espresso martinis' and I could see him shaking his head disgusted with the Scottish specimen in front of him," he said.

While doctors initially blamed the health scare on too much caffeine and alcohol during their getaway, a week after the incident, Smart said he got a "phone call from the doctor" who asked if the group came into contact with any caterpillars while on vacation. It was then that they learned they likely brushed up to a processionary caterpillar on the golf course.

"It turns out that there are caterpillars on golf courses in the south of Portugal that have been killing people's dogs and giving men in their 40s heart attacks," Smart said.

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