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Monday, August 1, 2011

Insect Bites and Stings

Summer is a time of year when many people experience the unpleasantness of an insect bite or sting. You may experience pain or itching, depending on the type of sting or bite. Since some insects carry diseases, stings can also make you sick.

To prevent insect bites and their complications:

-Don't disturb insects

-Use insect repellant

-Wear protective clothing

-Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects

-If you know you have severe allergic reactions to insect bites, carry an emergency epinephrine kit

If you are stung by an insect, it is best to scrape out the stinger instead of using tweezers because the pressure from tweezers may spread the venom. Use a piece of cardboard or a credit card and scrape the skin to remove the stinger. Wash the area with soap and water. You can use ice or a cold compress to help reduce swelling.

Here are some links to other useful resources on insect bites and stings:

Skin Emergencies: Bee Sting, Cuts and Scratches, Burns, Allergic Reactions (National Center for Farmworker Health)PDF

Beware of Bug Bites and Stings (Food and Drug Administration)

Fight the Bite! Avoid Mosquito Bites to Avoid Infection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Using Insect Repellents Safely (Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs)

Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) (National Institutes of Health)

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