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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 treatment options.

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 medical attention.

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.


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Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.