First Aid Tips – Bug Bites & Stings

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

First Aid Tips - Bug Bites & Stings

As the weather gets nicer, we soon find ourselves being bothered by something we didn’t miss during the colder months – bugs. Most insect bites and stings cause minor problems that can be treated at home – such as swelling, redness, or itchiness at the site. However, with allergies and diseases found in some pests, it is important to know what to do, should an adverse reaction occur.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if:

  • There are any signs of an allergic reaction to the sting. A serious reaction may be fatal. Watch for difficulty breathing, swelling of the airway passages, confusion, and unconsciousness. Administer epinephrine (more commonly known as Epi-Pens) if the person carries this lifesaving medication.


For minor mosquito and black fly bites:

  • Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to reduce the swelling and pain.
  • Calamine lotion can be used for itchiness.


For tick bites:

  • Use tweezers to pull the tick off the skin, getting as close to the head as possible.
  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply an antiseptic or antibiotic ointment to decrease the chance of infection.


For bee or wasp stings:

  • A bee will leave behind a stinger attached to a poison sac. Remove the stinger from the skin by scraping it with the edge of a credit card or nail file. A wasp does not leave behind a stinger.
  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack – wrapped in a cloth.
  • Ask your doctor or local pharmacist for advice on over-the-counter anti-itch medication, antihistamines, and pain medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. Never give ASA to a child or teenager.


See your doctor if you notice:

  • Signs of infection – fever or increased swelling or pain.
  • Signs of Lyme disease or West Nile virus – a rash, fever, headache, weakness, muscle pain, or flu-like symptoms.
  • Signs of the Zika virus – mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.


To prevent bug bites, avoid areas with stagnant water (such as swamps), wooded areas and being outdoors during dawn and dusk, when insects are most active. When outdoors, cover up as much skin as possible with long slacks, long-sleeve shirts, socks, and a hat; using insect repellent can also help. The most effective repellents contain a chemical called DEET, but they must be used carefully to prevent side effects. Your local Kit Care representative can help you select the right products to protect you, your family, and your employees, and we can answer any questions you have on how to use them properly.


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