Bzzzz Off!

Insect bites and stings are bothersome, but are a reality in the summer months. Here are the best ways to prevent insect bites and stings:

  • Don’t bother insects.
  • Use insect repellant that contains DEET.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects.
  • If you know you have severe allergic reactions to insect bites, carry an emergency epinephrine kit.

If you are unfortunate enough to get bitten or stung, here are some ways to heal your wounds.

  • Remove the stinger – if stung by a bee, look to see if there’s a remaining stinger. To remove, use a firm object (doctors recommend a credit card) to sweep across the site and pull out the stinger. DON’T use tweezers or squeeze skin to remove stinger. (Wasps don’t leave their stingers after stinging, which means they can sting more than once.)
  • Clean the area – use soap and water to thoroughly cleanse site of the sting or bite. For spider bites, apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Apply ice – use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or a cold, wet washcloth for a few minutes.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream – adding hydrocortisone cream to the site of the sting will help relieve redness and pain.
  • Take a pain reliever and an antihistamine – give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, and Benadryl for redness, swelling, and irritation.
  • For a tick bite – use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth. Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go, then swab the bite site with alcohol. Contact your doctor if only part of the tick is removed.
  • Get medical help right away – if you notice wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling, dizziness or vomiting.