Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Bee stings and Insect Bites

With the kids out of school during summertime and the weather so nice and warm everyone tends to spend much more time outside. But people are not the only ones who enjoy the sunny and humid weather, insects do to. Bees, mosquitoes, fleas and other bugs are usually more prevalent in the summer and being outside means we are likely to come into contact with them, this means the possibility of getting stung or bitten.

For most of us, bee stings present only temporary discomfort and a few normal, physical reaction to the sting venom: swelling, redness, and itching around the sting area. Children are often inflicted with bee stings because of their proclivity for playing outdoors and possibly disturbing the bees. Normally, bees and even wasps are not aggressive and you can walk around them without fear of being stung. If they land on you or buzz around you, don’t panic! They will usually fly away again once they have determined that you do not have what they want. They are attracted by bright colors. However, bees may also be attracted to certain hairsprays, perfumes, or foods you carry, although they are not likely to sting you just to check out your perfume. If you do get stung, you can minimize the discomfort through natural means.

Bee Sting Symptoms

Approximately one person in every thousand has a hypersensitivity to bee sting venom and could be at risk of a serious allergic reaction or even death from stings. Normal reactions to bee stings include swelling, burning, or throbbing pain that lasts for a few hours; redness; and itching around the sting area. More serious reactions that warrant medical attention include swelling of the tongue, difficulty breathing, nausea, and impaired vision.

Repeated stinging or multiple stings may cause fever, joint pain, or swelling of the lymph glands in some people. These symptoms generally appear around eight hours after the stinging. If this happens, seek medical attention.

Other insect bites produce symptoms similar to bee stings, unless they are from very venomous insects. Watch for these signs: dizziness, nausea, fainting, sweating or fever, difficulty breathing, swelling around the neck, and diarrhea. Seek medical attention if any of these symptoms appears.

Treatments for Bee Stings and Insect Bites

  • DON’T grab the extruding part of the stinger. Instead, quickly take a knife tip or other object with an edge (a credit card, for example) and flick the stinger out.
  • Put ice or ammonia on the wound. Ice slows down the spread of poisons and provides cooling relief.
  • Next, apply an alkali paste on the sting wound. Toothpaste works well, as does bentonite clay, meat tenderizer, or a paste made of crushed aspirin and a few drops of water.
  • For more pain relief, try taking an antihistamine.

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