Nature is filled with beneficial creatures that, if disturbed or threatened, could hurt people. A few examples are well-known stingers such as ants, bees, and wasps. Even though you may want to avoid these insects, sometimes, you just can’t. Because their natural habitats continue to be demolished or disturbed, more and more of these creatures are finding their way to human territory. Plus, travel is popular and the importation of goods is very common, and these activities bring non-native insects to U.S. soil.

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It’s important to adequately protect yourself from stinging insects because their bites can be pretty painful. It is also heartbreaking to see kids and even babies being stung because they usually feel the pain more intensely, and such incidents can even emotionally scar them for life. More importantly, there are individuals who are allergic to insect stings. When stung, they could experience a severe reaction known as “anaphylaxis” wherein they’ll require medical assistance in order to avoid going into a coma or dying.

Below are a few more tips about what to do in case you or someone you know gets stung.

1. Determine if the person is having an allergic reaction. Common symptoms include – generalized swelling or swelling of the face and/or tongue; nausea; dizziness or loss of consciousness; widespread hives or rashes; abdominal tenderness; and a drastic drop in blood pressure. These signs indicate that the victim must be brought to a hospital as soon as possible.

Someone who has experienced a severe reaction from an insect sting before will likely have the same reaction too. Therefore, it’ll help a lot if you ask the victim if he is allergic to stings. It is very important for those with allergies to insect stings and bites to always have an epinephrine autoinjector or EpiPen on hand. They should also wear a medical bracelet that will declare what type of allergy they have so that in case their ability to communicate is compromised, people, especially emergency medical technicians, will immediately know how to treat them.

2. For mild to moderate reactions, the injured site should be cleaned with water and a mild soap. Then, the stinger must be removed. There are several ways to do this. One, you can use your fingernail to scrape the stinger. You can also use a dull knife, a credit card or an ID card, or anything with a firm and flat surface. Do not squeeze the stinger out because this will only release more venom into the site.

3. To alleviate the pain and control the swelling, gently place an ice pack over the area. There are also over-the-counter medications that can be taken, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Just remember to never give aspirin to a child who is 18 or younger. Topical creams can also be placed on the site to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Apt creams are those that contain hydrocortisone and lidocaine. Calamine lotion is also a good option, and there are also home remedies for itchiness, such as baking soda and water.

4. Know that it will take about 2 to 5 days for the injury to heal. Keep the area clean in order to avoid infection. If the site is still sore and swollen after 5 days or if you notice other odd changes on the injured site, consult a physician right away.

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Claire Brent is a freelancer who specializes in issues about pest management. Her articles aim to spread more information about pest control alternatives, and some of her materials have been used by business sites like http://www.preventivepestcontrol.com/locations/texas/the-woodlands/ .

Filed under: Insect Stings

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