The term Honk Fever actually is actually a common nickname of the mental sickness properly called the Onctharyngian Flush. Honk Fever is an illness affecting the mind by means of the ill perceiving visual and audible hallucinations. It is most often found and diagnosed in pre-adolescent children, and often resolves itself by adulthood. While not actually a “fever” the treatment methods of hydration have been incorrectly related to the person being overheated or “flushed.”
Honk fever is most commonly encountered by families living on the fringes of towns and cities, but this data may be skewed, as more rural families are unlikely to seek help with the condition, relying instead on local healers (herbalists, witch doctors, etc). The first signs of Honk Fever usually manifest before a child has learned to talk. It is theorized that the very presence of the hallucinations delay the child’s desire to speak, making it more noticeable and easier to diagnose.
Cases of Honk Fever have been documented across multiple humanoid races to include Elves, Humans, Gnomes and Halflings. Those mixed blood races (half-elves and mulls) tend to be more likely to experience it. Roughly 3% of all children are likely to experience Honk Fever, with a 5% likelihood for half-races. The illnesses presence does not seem impacted by geography, weather, or diet (see below). Nor do changes in those environments impact recovery.
Stage 1: Child is non-verbal at the time of onset, has difficulty following directions, and has a frantic response to the sight of open flames. If presented with light from behind a shade, or diffused by cloth, the child is unfazed. Child develops an insatiable thirst, and will often drink from unsafe water sources if not monitored carefully. As expected, this can lead to further physical illnesses not directly related to Honk Fever and can also lead to misdiagnosis. In some small communities, the child will be offered a seat next to the well for easy access to water. If well-hydrated, the patient will show no other symptoms. However, if the child’s fluid intake drops below 1L per hour, the child will progress to stage 2.
Stage 2: Each hour that the fluid intake is less than 1L of drinking water, the child will begin to lose their peripheral vision and start seeing double vison when presented with bright lights (including looking at the sun, candles, torches, campfires, etc). This is NOT a vision issue, but actually related to how the brain perceives the world around him/her. After 2 or more hours in stage 2, the child may progress to stage 3.
Stage 3: Shortly after the visual hallucinations have presented, the child will start to hear high pitched whining sounds that always seem to originate over their shoulder. To date there is no theory as to which shoulder to noise will be heard from, but once established it usually does not change locations.
Honk Fever is not treatable by medications, but it generally self-resolves at puberty. With the appropriate supports, the child can fulfill a relatively normal life. A child’s progression between the stages can be managed by isolating the child away from light sources, and hydrating them fully. The only known long-term effects are an occasional ringing in the ears in adulthood, and muted sense of taste.
Jonas Honk, a Halfling cleric residing near Ebony Harbor was the first to full diagnose and research the condition. It was eventually named after him for his discovery of it.