Dealing with a Bee Sting http://www.umr.edu/~umrshs/selfcare/selfcare_frameset/selfcare.html
If a honeybee stings you, look for the stinger and pluck it out as soon as you can. The quicker you do this, the better the chance of keeping most of the bee venom out of your system. Other bees and stinging insects—bumble bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets—don’t leave stingers behind.
Put ice on the affected area right away, and then apply a paste of baking soda and water.
People who have severe allergic reactions to bee stings should seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
Source: The American Red Cross and K. Handahl. First Aid and Safety Handbook. Little, Brown and Company, 1992.
What if a Spider Bites You?
The bites of two types of spiders—the brown recluse and the black widow—are considered dangerous to humans.
- From 1 to 4 hours after a bite, the venom from a black widow can cause muscle spasms and cramps, nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing.
- A brown recluse’s venom causes local tissue damage. An ulcer at the site of the bite continues to enlarge, heals slowly and may cause chills, aches and nausea in the first few hours.
If the person who’s been bitten is having a severe reaction to a spider bite, call for emergency medical assistance right away. Even if the reaction does not seem severe, medical attention is necessary:
- Call a hospital emergency department to let them know you’ll be arriving so they can have the correct anti-venom medication ready.
- Wash the area that was bitten and place a cold compress on it to slow the spread of the venom.
- Remove rings or anything constrictive, because the bitten area may swell.
- Place the bitten site below the heart level. Never place it above the level of the heart.
- Constantly watch for signs of shock—decreasing alertness or increased paleness—and difficulty breathing. Call 911 if these symptoms arise.
- If necessary, administer CPR if you are able to.
Source: The American Red Cross and K. Handahl. First Aid and Safety Handbook. Little, Brown and Company, 1992
Treating Chigger Bites
Chiggers are bright red, eight-legged insects that feed on humans and animals. They’re most commonly found in overgrown brush and unmown grassy areas, and they’re most abundant in July, August and early September.
Chiggers don’t burrow under the skin. They inject a digestive enzyme from their mouth onto the skin. The enzyme dissolves the skin cells it touches, and the chigger then sucks up the skin tissue, which has turned into liquid. The result is a bite that itches like crazy.
You can treat chigger bites with over-the-counter antihistamines, hydrocortisone creams and Calamine lotion. Be sure to read the labels to make sure these products are safe for you. And be aware that they aren’t likely to provide complete relief.
To avoid chigger bites:
- Wear long sleeves and long pants
- Remove and wash clothes as soon as you get home
- Take a warm, soapy shower or bath right away
- If you can’t bathe right away, try to rub your body with alcohol
- Mosquito repellent may be effective for chiggers, but don’t forget to re-apply every three hours or so
Source: The University of Missouri at Rolla, Student Health Services.
How to Treat Pinkeye
Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation that causes the white of the eye to become pink, red or irritated. There’s often mucous in the eye as well. Either a virus or bacteria cause the condition.
Cold or sinus medications and warm compresses may offer some relief. If there’s no improvement, see your doctor for treatment.
To help prevent the spread of pinkeye, which is highly contagious, everyone in the household should wash hands frequently
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
If you’re looking for a new way to treat hay fever symptoms, give stinging nettle a try. The best form is in freeze-dried capsules. Stinging nettle, extracted from the Urtica dioica plant, is non-toxic. Take one or two capsules every two to four hours.
Source: Dr. Andrew Weil.