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Bugs Bite!

Bugs Bite!



Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket Stings
Treatment
Bee-Ware!
If You're Allergic to Stings
Mosquito Bites
Treatment
Tick Bites
Treatment
Spiders
Brown Recluse Spiders
About the Bite
Treatment
Black Widow Spiders
About the Bite
Treatment
Fire Ants
Treatment


Don't let bug bites and stings ruin your summer plans. Here's how to stop the pain, ice the itching, and get on with your day. back to top

Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket Stings
When you get stung by one of these fuzzy fellows, you know it! And you have a painful, red bump to show for it. Even though bee, wasp, and hornet stings can hurt a lot, in most cases, they're not serious. back to top

Treatment
First, check to see if the stinger is still in your skin. If it is, ask someone to help you take it out. Don't pull at it or use tweezers because you could break the stinger and make it even harder to get it out. Instead, gently scrape it out using your fingernail or a piece of hard plastic. Once the stinger is out, wash the area with soap and water. Here are some ways to treat the sting:
  • Hold an ice cube or a cool, wet washcloth on it to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the sting to reduce pain.
  • Put some calamine lotion on it to stop the itching.
  • For very bad stings, use a hydrocortisone cream to reduce swelling and itching. You can get one of these at the drugstore without a prescription. back to top
Bee-Ware!
Are you allergic to bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, or fire ant stings? Here are some symptoms that signal an allergy. See a health professional immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
  • tingling, itchy, and flushed (pink) skin
  • hives
  • a racing heart
  • a throbbing feeling in the ears
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • wheezing and finding it hard to breathe
  • swelling around the eyes, lip, tongue, or throat
  • numbness all over back to top
If You're Allergic to Stings
For the small percentage of people who are allergic to stings, they can be very serious and even deadly. If you are allergic to these stings, talk to your health professional. He or she can give you a drug called epinephrine to keep with you in case you get stung. You may also want to keep antihistamines on hand to help ease the symptoms of the allergic reaction if you get stung. back to top

Mosquito Bites
It wouldn't be summer without these bothersome bugs. Mosquito bites leave red, itchy, slightly raised bumps. Some people are more sensitive and get big welts near the bites. Mosquito bites should go away in a few days. back to top

Treatment
Try not to scratch mosquito bites. You might break the skin and get an infection, and the bite will take much longer to go away. Clean the bite with soap and water. Then try one of these remedies: Tick Bites
Tick bites can be very serious. Some very small ticks carry a germ that causes Lyme disease. This is a long-lasting, sometimes very serious, illness that can feel like the flu at first. A red, circle-shaped spot about six inches wide is a sign that you may have been bitten by a tick infected by Lyme disease. Unlike mosquito bites or bee stings, you may not even feel it or see it when a tick bites you. If you've been bitten by a larger tick, you probably can still see the tick imbedded in your skin. You can get tick bites just by being out in the woods or in tall grass. So you should wear long pants, long sleeves, and insect repellant when hanging out in areas where there are lots of ticks, like woods or big fields. back to top

Treatment
If the tick is still in your skin, remove it as soon as possible. But don't just pull it out. The head could come off and get stuck deeper in your skin and cause swelling. Instead, put some petroleum jelly, olive oil, or mineral oil on the tick to suffocate it. Then, have an adult use tweezers to slowly pull it out using a twisting motion. After the tick is out, wash the area with soap and water. Put some alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the bite and cover it with a bandage. Make an appointment with your health professional to get tested for Lyme disease. back to top

Spiders
There are many, many kinds of spiders. The two most common poisonous ones are the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider. Both these spiders live mostly in the southern states. back to top

Brown Recluse Spiders
These spiders are about 3/8 inch long, have long legs, and are very anti-social. They like to hang out in dry, dark, out-of-the-way places like attics and hidden corners. You can recognize them by the violin-shaped mark on their backs. back to top

About the Bite
Brown recluse bites are rarely deadly. Right after the bite, you may not even feel any pain. In about an hour, though, the area around the bite will start to hurt quite a bit and will get red, bruised, and itchy. Then you'll get a fluid-filled blister that breaks open and leaves an open sore. Other reactions include a mild fever and rash, nausea, and listlessness. back to top

Treatment
  • Apply an icepack to the bite as soon as possible to relieve pain.
  • If the bite is on your arm or leg, have an adult or friend tightly tie a piece of cloth or a bandage above the bite to help keep the venom from spreading through your body. Take off the cloth after five minutes, and keep your arm or leg hanging down.
  • Go to the hospital right away. A health professional needs to treat the bite. back to top
Black Widow Spiders
Black widow spiders are skinny and black, and about half an inch long. You can tell them apart from other spiders by the red, hourglass-shaped mark on their bellies. They like dark, damp places like old tree stumps and woodpiles. back to top

About the Bite
The black widow spider bite feels like a pinprick. Like a brown recluse bite, it's rarely deadly. First, the bite usually will swell and you'll see light red marks. After a few hours, you will probably start to feel lots of pain and feel very stiff. Other symptoms are chills, fever, nausea, throwing up, muscle spasms, severe pain in your belly, and even paralysis in some parts of your body. back to top

Treatment
  • Put ice on the bite right away to ease the pain.
  • If the bite is on your arm or leg, have an adult or friend tightly tie a piece of cloth above the bite to stop the spread of the venom. Remove the cloth after five minutes, and keep your arm or leg hanging down.
  • Get to a hospital right away for treatment. Usually, the treatment includes pain relievers and muscle relaxers to help ease the muscle spasms. There is a medicine, called an anti-venom, for black widow bites, but it's only used in very bad cases. back to top
Fire Ants
These pesky bugs are common in the South, especially near the Gulf of Mexico. They're red or yellowish and tiny (1 to 5 mm, or less than a quarter inch, long). Like other ants, they live in mounds in the ground. When they sting, they leave red, swollen, painful bites that last for about 45 minutes. Then the bites turn into blisters. The blisters usually break open after 1 to 3 days. back to top

Treatment
Treatment for fire ant stings is the same as for bee, wasp, and hornet stings. First, check to see if the stinger is still in your skin. If it is, ask someone to help you take it out. Don't pull at it or use tweezers because you could break the stinger and make it even harder to get it out. Instead, gently scrape it out using your fingernail or a piece of hard plastic. Once the stinger is out, wash the area with soap and water. Here are some ways to treat the sting:
  • Hold an ice cube or a cool wet washcloth on it to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the sting to reduce pain.
  • Put some calamine lotion on it to stop the itching.
  • For very bad stings, use a hydrocortisone cream to reduce swelling and itching.
  • After the blister breaks, keep the bite clean and free of germs so that it doesn't get infected. back to top
 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 3/19/2001
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