Gary left Survivor because of an allergic reaction to bug bites

On last Thursday’s episode of Survivor Fiji, two people left the show, although one was not voted off. Gary Stritesky, called “Papa Smurf” by his tribe because of his beard and blue skin, was evacuated by the show’s medics because of dizziness and shortness of breath.

On the island, the medics told him there was nothing wrong, Gary says “they thought it was a heat rash, but I knew it wasn’t.” Instead, he says, it was a result of the tiny red marks that covered both his legs.

“You noticed all the bug bites I had? It was an allergic reaction to the bites. That’s why I had the loss of breath and the nausea,” he tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Oh, man, I’d never had anything like that happen to me. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t stand up straight. But once they got the anti-toxins in me, I was in pretty good shape.”

Gary also says he’ll be back to his job today, driving a school bus in Ramsey, Minn.

‘Papa Smurf’ in good shape after leaving ‘Survivor’ [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.