Summer bites and stings

As we head into the warmer weather, it is a great idea to have a little first aid kit for bites and stings that can be all too common. Insects such as mosquitos, fleas, sand flies and midges can bite to feed off our blood and when they do, they inject a small amount of an anti-clotting substance so that they can feed on the blood more easily. A raised, red lump can form at the site and this can be very itchy. Scratching can cause infections and sores, which may take time to heal and cause scarring.

To treat the bite, you need to relieve the itch and this can be done with preparations that soothe or numb or mild steroid creams. Antihistamines may also be helpful to reduce the itch through the day or at night when it can be particularly annoying. Ask our Pharmacists which product is best for you.

Bee and wasp stings can be more severe with most people getting a painful sensation at the time of a sting, swelling and redness. Some people are particularly sensitive to stings and can have an anaphylactic reaction causing swelling of the face, difficulty breathing and a rash over their body.  This is a medical emergency and an ambulance should be called, but also check if the person is carrying medicine (adrenaline) to treat the reaction.

Those that are not allergic still need to remove a bee sting as soon as possible.  Try not to squeeze it as it may continue to push in venom, so use a sharp edge to scrape it out such as a credit card, rather than tweezers. Clean and cool the area to ease the pain and swelling. Mild steroid creams can be helpful for the swelling and inflammation around the sting. Pain relieving and antihistamine medicines are also helpful, particularly if there are multiple stings.



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