GET INFORMED: BITES AND STINGS

Be prepared! Be cautious! Be safe!

Insect Bites and Stings

Most insect bites are harmless, though they feel unpleasant. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings and fire ant bites usually hurt. Mosquito, flea and mite bites usually itch.

To prevent insect bites:

  • Don't bother insects
  • Use insect repellant
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects
  • If you know you have severe allergic reactions to insect bites, carry an emergency epinephrine kit

Spider Bites

Though many people are afraid of spiders, they rarely bite people unless threatened. Most spider bites are harmless. Occasionally, spider bites can cause allergic reactions. And bites by the venomous black widow and brown recluse spiders can be very dangerous to people.

Spider Bites : First-Aid

  1. Wash the area well with soap and water
  2. Apply an ice pack or a wet compress to the area
  3. Take over-the-counter pain medicine, if needed
  4. Consider using antihistamines for severe swelling
  5. Seek medical treatment for small children and adults with severe symptoms (Administration of antivenin by a medical professional may be needed to prevent nerve and skin damage.)
  6. Monitor and treat for shock if necessary.

Snake Bites

Most snakes are harmless and bites can be treated as normal animal bites. However, if the snake is poisonous, the venom that is transmitted to the victim can be life threatening.

First Aid for Snake Bites

  1. Call medical help immediately if possible.
  2. Remain calm, remember most snake bites are not fatal.
  3. Minimise movement if possible. If you are hiking alone you may have to hike out for help.
  4. If you are bitten on the arm or finger remove any rings, bracelets or watches. Loosen any tight clothing in case swelling occurs.
  5. Apply a pressure bandage to the bitten limb. If the bite is to the trunk, head or neck, apply firm pressure to the bitten area. Do not restrict chest movement as breathing will be affected by this.
  6. Splint or use a sling on the bitten limb to restrict movement and give support
  7. If there is no bandage or equivalent to apply a pressure bandage make note of any inflammation by tracing the edge of the swelling with a pen or the like near/around the bite and mark the time clearly next to it. If it progresses make a new tracing noting the time of each new mark beside that new tracing. This will give valuable information to medical help as to the development of the swelling.
  8. If possible, lie down and keep the bitten extremity at body level. Raising it can cause venom to travel through the body quicker. Holding it down, can increase swelling.
  9. When possible arrange for transport to the nearest hospital emergency room, where anti-venom for snakes common to the area will often be available and given if required.