Ouch! Preventing Summer Bug Bites
By Martin Brown
Pocked skin and infected bug bites are not pretty—especially if you’d planned for this to be your summer of love.
To keep you skin blemish-free, be prepared for any attacks you may suffer from the Earth’s smallest creatures: INSECTS.
To reduce the likelihood of being stung:
• Avoid wearing flowered, or even bright, clothes.
• Don’t wear scented lotions or perfumes.
• Control odors at picnics, especially around the garbage areas; double up on plastic bags.
• Check before drinking from cups, bottles and cans. Stinging insects are attracted to sweet drinks.
Even doing all of the above may not make you invisible to bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, whose stings occur frequently during the warmer months. When a person develops symptoms other than localized pain soon after a bite or sting, severe allergic reaction is a major concern and he or she needs to be treated immediately.
A word of caution: these stings are usually only dangerous to a person who is allergic to the sting or who has been stung multiple times.
Insects will take a nibble any time of the day, but most bites occur in the evening. That said, take extra precautions after sunset.
In fact, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control claims that about 880,910 injuries caused by insect bites and stings were treated in hospital emergency departments across the nation in 2002.
It seem that some of us have common misperceptions about skin abscesses or infections: they mistake it for a spider bite. Rule of thumb: Unless you see the spider bite you, and can bring it in with you to the emergency department, it’s hard to confirm In fact, spider bites are very rare.
However, should you find yourself pricked by a bee, wasp, or mosquito, don’t hesitate to move to the front of the line at your local emergency room (that is, if your insurance covers you…but that’s another rant).
There are shots specific to your allergy – from which you’ll have a reaction, typically occur within 15 to 20 minutes after the bite or sting.
Swelling is not so swell, so don’t presume that this discomfort will just “go away.” Instead, go see your general practitioner. Doing so may save a life: Yours.
That said, follow these treatment tips for stings and bites:
• Stung? Stay calm . . .
* If you can see the stinger, pull it out with tweezers, from the nearest part of the skin, or just brush it off, with a flat stick.
* Get some ice, or an ice pack, on the area, as soon as possible. This takes down the swelling.
* Resist the urge to itch, by taking an over-the-counter antihistamine. This can go on for as short as few hours, or as long a few days.
* Should you experience more serious symptoms – like itching or hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in the throat, mouth, or tongue– call 911 immediately, or go to the emergency room.
Taking a bit out of life doesn’t mean allowing insects to take a bite out of you.