Health Concerns Of Insect Bites And Stings

Some insects are merely annoying while others can become deadly. Learn about bites, stings, and the creatures that cause them.

Thousands of people are bit and stung each year. Some insects are merely annoying while others can become deadly. Learn about bites, stings, the creatures that cause them, what to do when bit, and how to avoid them in the future.

Insects that bite and sting

Mosquitoes - biters

Black Flies - biters

Spiders (some) - biters

Fleas - biters

Bees - stingers (only once)

Wasps - stingers

Hornets - stingers

Horseflies - biters

Yellow Jackets - stingers

What happens when an insect bites/stings you?

In most cases, when you've been bit or stung by an insect, your skin will react immediately. Sometimes it's just a quick sting and then the pain subsides. Other times the pain can last for hours, depending on the perpetrator.

The pain inflicted by the insect comes from the venom of the bite or stinger that is inserted into your skin. Usually your skin will react by becoming swollen, itchy, and reddened. If it's a mosquito, your skin will swell in reaction and tend to be itchy for hours to days. Spider and flea bites tend to have the same reaction. Bees will sting but can only sting once. Wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and some spiders can bite or sting multiple ties.

What to do when you are stung or bit:

If a bee has stung you, you must remove the stinger to avoid infection. Use tweezers to remove the stinger and remove it from the bottom of the stinger. Avoid the top of the stinger as this is where the venom sacs are situated and if they are popped, this can increase the amount of venom entering the skin.

For all bites and stings, do the following:

· Use a cold/ice pack and apply it to the afflicted area to reduce immediate swelling.

· Apply a pain relieving cream (i.e. calamine lotion, ozonol, etc.) to the bite or sting.

· Try rubbing some aloe vera lotion or gel to the affected area surrounding the bite or sting.

If the affected area of the skin is red, hot, painful, or swollen, you may be experiencing an allergic or toxic reaction that requires medical attention.

How to know if you are experiencing an allergic reaction:

If you or someone around you experiences the following symptoms, seek out medical attention immediately.

· the affected area of the skin that has been stung is red, hot, painful, or swollen indicating a possible infection.

· you experience swelling around or of the eyes, lips, or throat

· your skin breaks out in hives

· you become dizzy, lightheaded or experience confusion

· you begin wheezing

· your breathing is difficult or labored

· you experience abdominal cramping or nausea/vomiting

· you experience fainting or loss of consciousness

· your heartbeat becomes irregular

How to avoid bites and stings from insects

· Apply insect repellent every few hours when in insect or spider-infested areas.

· Skin-So-Soft® bath oils are wonderful for repelling insects.

· Be sure to wash off insect repellent when returning indoors again.

· Avoid the outdoors during the dusk hours - this is when mosquitoes are most prevalent.

· Burn the anti-mosquito candles or coils when outdoors in the evening.

· Do not wear perfumes or colognes when outside. The sweet scents will attract insects.

· Wear white or any light-colored clothing to avoid bee stings (avoid yellows and reds as they attract insects).

· Avoid wearing flower-printed patterns, as bees are usually attracted to these types of patterns and colors.

· Wear shoes or sandals when walking through grassy or wooded areas to avoid being stung by insects or spiders.

· Wear socks when possible and pull them up to cover more of your lower legs.

· Wear gloves and tuck pants into socks when working in places where spiders may be lurking.

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