MANAGING INSECT BITES AT HOME

Summers are here, and while the pretty flowers and general air of congeniality and camaraderie make us feel happy and blissful, there is one whizz-and-buzz that we might be a little afraid of, and that is that of insects. Like most, if not all creatures, insects appreciate the change in weather too, and a lot of them are downright important for the progression of the season, especially bees which are part of the pollination process which propagates our favorite flowers. However, a part and parcel of these buzzers is the inevitable sting. Most bites and stings will heal on their own without having to visit your doctor, and there are steps you can take to reduce the pain and sting, and avoid infection. In this article, we are going to suggest remedies you can take to take the ‘sting’ out of a bee sting or an insect bite.

Move away from the stinging or biting insect. Bees will alert other bees, making them more likely to sting.

Remain as calm and quiet as possible. Movement increases the spread of venom in the bloodstream.

If you have been stung by a bee and the stinger is still in the skin, remove the stinger as quickly as possible. Applying apple cider vinegar to the sting site will remarkably reduce the pain and inflammation. You can apply it to a cotton bud and press it to your skin for most effect.

If you have been stung on the arm or leg, lower the limb at the time of the sting to slow the spread of venom. Hours later, if swelling is present, you can elevate the limb to help reduce swelling.

Apply an ice pack to a bite or sting for 15 to 20 minutes once an hour for the first 6 hours. When not using ice, keep a cool, wet cloth on the bite or sting for up to 6 hours. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack. Do not apply ice for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Do not fall asleep with the ice on your skin.

Underarm deodorants can greatly reduce inflammation if applied to affected area.

Try anti-allergy medication for the relief of itching, redness, and swelling. Follow the guidelines on the medicine leaflet before using. It is helpful to obtain a prescription from your doctor on a regular visit, and have the medicine available in your cupboard in case of emergency.

An antihistamine taken by mouth, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, may help relieve itching, redness, and swelling. Don’t give antihistamines to your child unless you’ve checked with the doctor first.

A spray of local anesthetic containing benzocaine, such as Solarcaine, may help relieve pain. If your skin reacts to the spray, stop using it.

Hydrocortisone 1% cream or calamine lotion applied to the skin may help relieve itching and redness

After the first 6 hours, if swelling is not present, try applying warmth to the site for comfort.

PREVENT A SKIN INFECTION

It is imperative to try and avoid an infection at the bite site. Otherwise, the area will become swollen and painful, and will require antibiotics for complete treatment. You can do the following to make sure you do not contract a post-bite infection.

Wash the area with clean water 2 times a day.

After washing, wipe the area with rubbing alcohol or first-aid antiseptic.

Trim fingernails to prevent scratching, which can lead to infection.

Do not break any blisters that develop.

You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.

CAUTION

In case of scorpion bites, spider bites, snake bites, and wasp and bee stings that look red and angry and painful to touch, or any other insect bites that you have taken all measures against but seem to keep on getting worse, please visit your GP.

Dr. Annie

Physician, mom and wife

One thought on “MANAGING INSECT BITES AT HOME

  • May 16, 2017 at 11:35 am
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    This is a handy site for information!!! specially for parents of young kids!
    Found it helpfull.

    Reply

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