Bites and stings. What to do?
Depending on what kind of insect, animal or
creature you have been bitten by, you will need to apply different first aid
treatment and possibly seek medical care.
If you have been bitten or stung by an insect
such as a mosquito, fly, bee, wasp or ant you may find that the area instantly hurts
and becomes itchy, red and swollen.
If the stinger is embedded in your skin you
may remove it by scraping a flat edged object across the skin to avoid
squeezing more venom into the skin. Wash with soapy water and apply a cold
compress. If the itching persists you can apply a topical cream and take some
antihistamine tablets. Our pharmacists are ideally placed to assist you with
If you or someone else starts to experience
hives, swelling of the face, lips or throat, breathing problems, signs of shock
or nausea and vomiting they may be having an allergic reaction. If severe, the reaction
can progress to anaphylaxis and be life threatening. In this case you must call
000, stay calm and follow their instructions over the phone until the ambulance
arrives. If they have an adrenaline pen (EpiPen) with them this should be
administered but still call 000. Further medical care and treatment is
essential after use of an Epipen.
If you have been bitten by a spider you will possibly
experience similar symptoms. These can be relieved by also washing with soapy
water, using an ice pack to reduce the pain and/or swelling and applying a
topical cream to relieve the itching. However, you should seek medical
attention as soon as possible because antivenom may be required to ensure no
severe reaction develops over time. Different spiders require different
treatments, so catch the spider if you can for identification purposes and seek
The best way to stay safe from bites and
stings during summer is to use insect repellant, stay out of long grass and
wear long pants if you will be around bushy areas. Remember to give furniture,
camping equipment and luggage a shake before using it.