Insects live in nearly every habitat, and can survive in nearly every climate on earth. For most people, interactions with most insects are completely harmless, but there are times when insect bites or stings can be irritating, painful, or even life threatening. Many bites or stings can be prevented by wearing protective clothing and avoiding certain areas and times insects are most active, but there are situations when a bite is simply unavoidable. The first thing you must do in the event of a bite or sting is get to safety if possible. Then, assess the severity of the sting or bite. If the reaction is mild or moderate, there are some simple things to have on hand for treatment at home.
Five First Aid Musts for Common Insect Bites and Stings
Bank Card or Blunt Knife
If you’ve been stung by a bee or anything that leaves a stinger behind, you will want to immediately remove the stinger and venom sack if they are still in your skin. The first impulse may be to squeeze it out with your fingernails or tweezers, but do not do this. Doing so may cause the stinger to go in deeper, venom sack to rupture, and more venom to spread. Instead, use a flat blunt surface, such as the edge of a bank card or blunt knife to scrape the stinger out.
While tweezers are the inappropriate tool to remove bee stingers, fine tipped tweezers work very well if you have been bitten by a tick and need to remove it. Since tick bites do carry additional risk from infection or Lyme disease, complete removal of all tick parts and cleanliness of the area is especially important.
Often insect bites like the ones from a mosquito, will blister and itch. To prevent itching, which is annoying, uncomfortable, and damaging to the skin. Remedies such as aloe vera, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar can all be effectively used to help reduce itching and promote healing. If you appreciate more natural remedies, these are all worthwhile things to have in your medicine cabinet.
In order to minimize swelling, it is a good idea to apply an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area. If possible, elevate it as well. Remove any tight fitting clothing, bracelets, or rings.
If you are uncomfortable, ibuprofen or acetaminophen are both readily available options to help reduce pain and swelling that may come with a bite or sting. An antihistamine can be taken to reduce itchiness as well. If you do not have an antihistamine at home, making a paste from water and baking soda will also work.
In the event of a bug bite or sting, remember not to panic. If you are suffering from a mild or moderate reaction, treatment at home is typically fine. If you are, or witness someone else, suffering from a severe reaction seek emergency medical help immediately. It is wise to know what kinds of insects in your area are universally dangerous, so you can know the best course of action to take in the event you get bit. You can also get the help of professionals like Spokane Spider Control experts to tell you what dangerous species might be in your area and the best ways to keep them at bay.