Summertime Bites & Stings

Bees and wasps not only have stings that are painful, but about 50 people a year actually die from allergic reactions to stings. When stung by a bee, its important to remember the bee will leave its stinger attached to you with a venom sac. To remove it, use a credit card and scrape it across the stinger to pull it out without pressing on the venom sac, or more painful venom will be injected. Wasps do not leave their stinger in you, but they can sting repeatedly.
If you are allergic to stings, immediate medical attention should be sought, or always carry an epinephrine injection pen. Usually cortisone cream can reduce swelling and itching, or for a wider reaction, an antihistamine cream or injection might be necessary. Some home remedies include honey, ice, toothpaste, peanut butter, vinegar/baking soda paste, mud and ammonia.

Mosquito bites cause that little itchy red bump that we are so familiar with. In the last decade, mosquitoes have spread the West Nile Virus, and they are well documented in the spread of diseases like encephalitis or malaria. A repellent containing DEET is your best bet to ward them off, but if you do get bitten, its best not to scratch, and use a topical antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream to reduce swelling and itching. Home remedies include Aloe Vera, vinegar, Dead Sea salt water, ice, banana peel, ammonia, lavender essential oil or rubbing alcohol.

Chiggers are the larval form of Trombiculidae mites and only feed on us in their “childhood”. As adult insects, they are actually vegetarian. They are less than 1/150th of an inch but their bite and subsequent itch are tremendous! The allergic reaction can last from 7-10 days until the body processes the stylostome, which is a hard tube-like structure created from skin reacting to the chiggers saliva path. To ward off chiggers, use powdered sulphur, if you can stand the smell, around the opening of your pants, socks and shoes and take a hot, soapy bath immediately after exposure. To ease a chigger bite, use benzocaine, camphor-phenol or ammonium hydroxide, along with other over the counter anti-itch creams. Other home remedies include ice, Dead Sea salt water, water and baking soda paste, honey, ammonia, slice of onion, or lavender essential oil mixed with equal parts of vegetable oil.


June 30, 2011 7:28 pm Published by