It’s fair to say that nearly everyone has experienced an insect bite or sting at least once in their life, which is why our team at Melbourne First Aid training felt it was important to provide comprehensive information on how to identify and treat these symptoms. As not all bites or stings have the same symptoms, depending on the type of insect that’s inflicted the attack, the first aid treatment applied will change on a case-by-case basis.
The difficulty with insect bites and stings, is it’s often hard to tell if the attack is dangerous or not. Most people who have been attacked by an insect, such as a bee, ant, mosquito, fly or a wasp, will generally only suffer from a mild reaction. Some of the symptoms that result from this type of reaction include: redness, itchiness, inflammation or pain. Unfortunately, the severity of symptoms can vary due to two main factors which are: the type of insect you’ve been bitten or stung by and whether or not you are allergic to the insect which has attacked you.
For those who suffer from an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting, the symptoms can range from shock, nausea and vomiting through to breathing problems, abdominal cramping, hives and swelling of either the throat, face and lips. In these cases, the bite or sting could end up being life threatening. Discover how to identify and treat a wide range of insect bites and stings below to avoid an attack causing serious injury or death.
Generally, if you have been stung by an insect it will penetrate the skin leaving behind saliva, venom or even faeces. With insect stings, it’s also very common for the “stinger” to be left behind, which may or may not be venomous.
Symptoms caused by an insect sting:
In Australia, the most common stings to cause anaphylaxis are bee and wasp stings. Wasps are often far more aggressive than bees, making this insect quite dangerous. Wasps are also drawn to food and sugary drinks, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on any open food and drink containers while outdoors.
With a bee sting, don’t use tweezers to try and pull out the stinger, as this will release more venom from the sack attached to it. Instead try to remove it gently with a sharp object, such as a bank card or a finger nail. Try to remove the stinger as fast as possible to avoid more venom being injected into the skin. After the stinger has been removed from the sting, wash the region with soap and water. Wasps generally don’t leave their stinger behind in the skin, so apply a cold pack and a soothing cream for a milder reaction, as well as take oral antihistamines to contain any itching sensation.
If anaphylaxis occurs from a bee or wasp sting insert an auto injector with epinephrine into the skin. For rare or unforeseen cases where there is no epinephrine available, call an ambulance immediately or if you are in close proximity to a hospital, take the victim directly to the emergency ward.
For scorpion and centipede stings use an ice pack to reduce the inflammation, before cleaning the wound with either antiseptic or soap and water. Give the victim a painkiller to take away any pain symptoms. With caterpillar stings, use tweezers to pull out the larger hairs, before applying adhesive tape to remove the finer ones.
With insect bites, there will always be a puncture wound left on the skins surface. When it comes to the reaction that results from an insect bite, this will depend on the insect that has attacked the victim.
Symptoms caused by an insect bite
Insect bites generally clear up over a couple of days without further symptoms. If there are further complications, it’s important to seek medical assistance. For insect bites which cause anaphylaxis, use insert epinephrine into the body with an auto injector. If epinephrine is not available, call an ambulance immediately or take the victim to the emergency ward if in close proximity.
When supplying first aid treatment for a mosquito bite, initially wash the area with soap and water or apply an antiseptic. You can also apply a cold pack to take away any swelling and reduce the symptoms. If cold or fever like symptoms result from a mosquito bite, the victim needs to seek medical attention immediately.
If you’re providing first aid for tick bites, it’s recommended not too forcibly remove the tick, as this can result in more of the allergen being released into the skin. You can either arrange medical assistance for the victim or alternatively freeze the tick with a product that will kill it, so it drops off the skin. Once the tick is removed, apply antiseptic cream to the region.
So that you can be better prepared to treat insect bites and stings, Melbourne first aid training offers comprehensive CPR and first aid courses with experienced assessors for business and personal requirements.
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