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First Aid - Insect Bites and Stings

Many insects bite or sting, but few can cause serious symptoms by themselves, unless of course, the person is allergic to them. However, some insects transmit diseases. For example, certain types of mosquitoes transmit malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases; certain types of ticks transmit spotted or Rocky Mountain fever: and certain types of biting flies transmit tularemia or rabbit fever.

Occasionally, stinging or biting insects that have been feeding on or have been in contact with poisonous substances can transmit this poison at the time of the sting or bite.

Persons who have experienced serious reactions from pervious insect bites should be urged to secure any possible immunization or have an antidote readily available to prevent more serious reactions from future insect bites and stings.

The signs and symptoms of insect bites and stings are as follows:

  1. The stings of bees and the bites of mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and bedbugs usually cause only local irritation and pain in the region strung or bitten.
  2. Moderate swelling and redness may occur; and some itching, burning, and pain may be present.

The first aid for insect bites and stings are as follows:

  1. The sting area should be inspected to determine whether the stinger is still left in the body. If it is, remove it in order to prevent further injection of toxin. The stinger should be carefully scraped off the skin, rather than grasped with tweezers, so as not to squeeze toxin into the body.
  2. Application of ice or ice water to the bite helps to slow absorption of toxin into the blood stream. A paste of baking soda and water can also be applied to the bite.
  3. The victim should be observed for signs of any allergic reaction. For people who are allergic, maintain an open airway and get the victim to medical help as quickly as possible.

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