Insect bites and stings: What to do and when to call the doctor

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Summer is in full swing, which makes being stung or bitten by something while hiking, playing in the garden or going for a walk with the dogs a highly likely event. 

Knowing what to do and when to seek medical advice is key in these situations, to prevent any unnecessary complications. This is what you need to know:

 First aid steps to treat a mild reaction from a bite or sting:

  • Move to a safe area where no more bites / stings can occur;
  • If any stingers have been left behind in the skin, gently remove them;
  • Gently wash the area with soap and water;
  • Apply a cold dampened cloth (you can fill it with ice to make it extra effective) and hold it on the area for 10 to 20 minutes to reduce swelling and pain;
  • If the bite or sting is on the arm or leg, raise it;
  • If the area is very itchy, take an antihistamine to reduce irritation, and if it is very painful, take a painkiller to alleviate some discomfort.
Putting a plaster on finger. Source: Unsplash

Seek medical attention if:

  • You develop trouble breathing;
  • You feel dizzy or faint;
  • You develop nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea;
  • Your pulse becomes weak or rapid;
  • You experience swelling to the face, lips or throat.

 

If the bite or sting causes a wound or damages the skin, it might be time to try Biomedical Wound Occlusive to help the skin heal and prevent scarring.

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