Insect Bites and Stings

The effects of an insect bite are often due to the venom or any other substance

First Aid Training Room for candidates

workplace approved first aid courses teach candidates to manage and recognize insect bites.

that an insect injects into your body. Usually the venom causes pain and may trigger an allergic reaction. The seriousness of an allergic reaction depends on two things: your sensitivity towards the insect bite, its venom or other chemicals, and the number of times you have been stung or bitten by the insect.

An insect bite often does not require a trip to the emergency department because it usually results in a vexing itch, pain or a small swelling that is often transient. Severe reactions may be delayed and lead to swelling in the glands, fever, painful joints and hives. Occasionally, people also develop a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis which requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms

  • Facial swelling such as swelling of the lips
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Abdominal pain
  • Impaired blood pressure and circulation leading to shock
  • Headaches

Severe reactions usually caused by wasps, bees, fire ants, scorpions and spiders are often troublesome and even life-threatening therefore, medical help is required if major symptoms appear in the casualty. Mosquito, biting flies and tick-bites are often mild. If you live in an area where malaria is widespread, take precautionary methods such as removing or covering stagnant water and sleeping under nets to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and biting.

Severe reactions usually affect more than one area of your body. If the following symptoms appear, call emergency medical help immediately:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of the throat or lips
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Hives / Urticaria
  • Unconsciousness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cramps

First aid treatment

For minor reactions, follow these instructions:

  • Move the casualty to a more secure area so that you and the casualty are both safe from the insects.
  • Remove the stinger that is stuck in the skin to prevent reactions due to the venom. Rinse the affected area with soap and water.
  • Press a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate pain.
  • Apply a layer of topical cream on the affected area to prevent irritation and itching. Creams containing lidocaine, pramoxine and hydrocortisone are designed to alleviate pain. Calamine lotion and creams with ingredients such as oatmeal and baking soda work too.
  • Take an antihistamine drug to prevent inflammation.

For reactions that exhibit severe signs and symptoms, follow these instructions:

  1. Call for emergency medical help immediately.
  2. Take action while you wait. Look for any medication the casualty may be carrying to treat allergic reactions. This may include an auto injector containing epinephrine which you have to press into the person’s thigh for several seconds.
  3. Loosen any tight clothing. Make the person feel warm by wrapping him with a blanket.
  4. Do NOT give the casualty anything to eat or drink.
  5. Roll the person to allow him to rest on his side to prevent choking in case of vomiting or bleeding from the mouth.
  6. Look for signs of circulation such as breathing, movement and coughing. If the person is not breathing, begin CPR till help arrives.

Learn More

To learn more about sudden medical emergencies such as insect bites take a workplace approved training course in Regina with Regina First Aid. Learn with the best instructors and receive “hands on” training and certification.

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