Bee stings, wasp stings and ant bites. What to do?
A bee sting, wasp sting and ant bite are
quite unpleasant and can cause instant pain to the area. Here in Australia they
are very common. They also can commonly cause anaphylaxis, which is a severe
type of allergic reaction.
Wasps are more aggressive than bees and are
attracted to food and drinks, so make sure you check all food and drink
containers before you eat or drink from them when outdoors. Bees are commonly
stepped on by people walking outside with bare feet, and ant bites usually occur
when someone is standing or sitting down on the ground outside.
Symptoms include redness, swelling, itchiness
and pain. For these you can use soapy water to clean the area and apply an ice
pack to reduce pain and swelling. The stinger will need to be removed if stung
by a bee. Ensure you do this by scraping a firm object across the bite - such
as your license card or fingernail. Avoid tweezers, as this will possibly squeeze
more venom into your skin. If the irritation persists you can apply a topical
cream and take some antihistamine tablets.
If you have been bitten by a bee or wasp and
have a known allergy that can cause anaphylaxis, you or someone with you must
call 000. If you or someone with you starts to experience any of the follow
symptoms it may be anaphylactic shock and you must call 000 immediately:
of the mouth, throat or tongue,
swallowing, breathing or wheezing,
instant rash appears,
around eyes, ears, lips and throat occurs
flushes, nausea or vomiting
weak, collapsing or falling unconscious.
If they have an adrenaline pen (EpiPen) with
them this should be administered and still call 000. Further medical care and
treatment is essential after use of an Epipen.
To protect yourself from these insects you
should wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, use insect repellent and
stay away from known infested areas. If you are gardening wear gloves, and if
outside wear shoes on your feet.