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Allergy (Allergies)
Title: Allergy (Allergies)
Category: Diseases and Conditions
Created: 7/23/1998 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 8/31/2015 12:00:00 AM

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First Aid for Insect Bites


Summertime is a wonderful time of the year to be out in nature exploring all of its wonders. However, it is also the time for insects to swarm as well. There are so many kinds of insects that every now and then it is safe to say that you will be either stung or bitten by one of them.

We will feel the effects of insect bites because these bugs are actually injecting venom, toxin or other chemical substance into our body which they need to aid in their digestive functioning. Pain, itching, scratching, swelling, and redness are general symptoms of insect bites. These symptoms occur because our bodies are having an allergic reaction to the substance that was injected by the insect in question.

Most allergic reactions to insect bites disappear quickly and are quite harmless, but what reactions you will have depend largely upon how sensitive you are to the insect bites. The mildest types of reactions to insect bites include: a stinging sensation or a rather bothersome itch along with a bit of swelling which generally goes away in a few days. Sometimes the insect bites will produce swollen glands, fever, painful joints and or hives, either immediately or a later on.

Anaphylaxis is the name of the condition given to severe reactions to the toxins from insect bites. Fortunately, very few people take severe reactions to insect bites, but if they do, the symptoms would include: toxic shock, swelling of the face, and difficulty in breathing. The most severe insect bites can come from ticks spreading disease, venomous spiders, bees, hornets, wasps and yellow jackets.

First aid for insect bites and stings

Get out of the line of fire; move away from the insects, get out of the woods, off lawns or anywhere where insects will sting or bite whenever possible.

In case of a sting, you can scrap off the stinger within anything that is straight edged such as a straight razor, plastic credit card, or knife, but do not pull out the stinger it might still have some venom to eject. Wash the area with soap and water.

To reduce the swelling from a sting, apply an ice pack immediately.

In case of a tick, carefully remove the tick with a pair of tweezers, gently pull out and make sure the head comes out. You can also apply adhesive tape to remove the tick. If it remains in the wound seek immediate medical attention.

For the relief of itching from stings and insect bites causes by fleas or chiggers and other relatively harmless insects, you will need some over the counter medication. Benadryl taken a few times per day may help - follow the instructions on the containter. Other antihistamines like Tylenol Severe Allergy or chlorpheniramine maleate will work as well.

If the skin is irritated, with a rash and or dermatitis caused by the breaking down of skins cells, a topical hydrocortisone cream such as calamine lotion or a baking soda solution can be used until the symptoms go away.

If you experience any of the following: hives, dizziness, fainting, trouble breathing, open gaping sores (spider bites), muscle and joint pain, shaking, chills, vomiting, cramps, confusion, rapid heartbeat, coma, see a doctor immediately and if you have the 911 service in your area call it immediately as well.

While waiting for medical help, administer any medication the afflicted person is taking for the insect bites. Also take it with you to the hospital so the doctors will know what has been done so far.

Make sure the person is lying on their back with feet raised higher than the torso but if there is any vomiting, or oral bleeding turn the person over onto the side.

Loosen any clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Do not give him or her any liquids.

For respiratory problems, and coughing apply CPR.

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