Thursday, August 4, 2011

Buzz Basics: Beating Bug Bites and Bee Stings!

Yesterday, I was minding my own business when I heard shouting, squealing, and then a loud, "thud." While strange and unusual behavior is not uncommon from non-profiteers, I figured as the self-appointed Chapter Safety Officer I should investigate the scene. What I saw, was not pretty, and it was definitely not sanitary, but it gave me a blog topic! 

Christine, our Financial Business Manager is always asking me, "Alex, what do I do if I get bit by a black widow? What do I do if I get stung by a bee? What If? What If? What If!?" So I figured that today I would finally answer all of her questions!

Insect bites and stings during the hot summer months are almost inevitable. So, instead of closing windows and hiding inside, learn how to treat bites and stings and brave the outdoors!

Bee, Wasp, Hornet and Yellow Jacket Stings

Most insect stings are not serious and can easily be treated. However, be on the lookout for allergic reactions, especially among adults and children who have never had a bee sting before. Severe allergic reactions that go untreated could be fatal.

A bee may leave behind a stinger when it stings. Try to remove it as quickly as possible by scraping it out with a credit card or similar. Wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold pack or a cold, wet washcloth to prevent swelling. Place a cloth or towel between the source of cold to prevent skin damage.

Pay careful attention to signs of an allergic reaction, especially wheezing or breathing difficulty, tightness in the throat or chest, swelling of the lips, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting. These are indicators of a serious reaction and need to be treated by a physician immediately. You should also seek medical care if you notice a large skin rash, a large area of swelling around the sting site, or if swelling and/or pain persist for more than 72 hours.

Spider Bites

The majority of spiders found in the United States are harmless. Bites can be treated in much the same way as a bee sting. Wash the area with soap and water, two to three times a day until the skin is healed. Apply a cold compress. Place a cloth or towel between the source of cold to prevent skin damage.

There are two spiders whose bites can be harmful and need to be treated by a physician immediately. The black widow and brown recluse spider are most often found in warm climates and cause noticeable reactions. Symptoms include a deep blue or purple area around the bite, surrounded by a whitish ring and large outer red ring, body rash, muscle spasms or stiffness, abdominal pain, headache or fever, joint pain, nausea or vomiting, and lack of appetite.

Contact the American Red Cross

If you wanted to be a lean, mean, insect fighting machine, you could always register for a First Aid Course and be ready to handle whatever bug attack you may encounter this summer. But don't forget about that CPR, just in case you happen to be near our friend Christine, and she passes out from the fear alone.

Happy Thursday!