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First Aid Basics: “Stung or bitten by an insect”

July 25, 2012

A person who has been stung or bitten by an insect will definitely feel pain.

  • The first thing you need to do is try and identify whether it was a bite or a sting by looking for marks or a stinger. Also look for any bleeding or swelling.
  • Remove the stinger by scrapping it away with a flat surfaced object such as a credit card or a knife. The aim is to remove it without squeezing the venom sac.
  • Wash the wound with soap and water, and cover with a dressing. Applying an ice pack or cold pack at this stage may help with the pain.

If the person starts showing signs of a rash; itchiness; swelling in their hands, feet or face; slows down in their breathing; in shock; or a change in mental status- it would be advisable to contact the local emergency number immediately.  At this point they may be having an allergic or an anaphylaxic reaction. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.

If they have an Auto-injector/ Epi-pen, help them to use it. (Someone who is already aware of being allergic to something, which can be quite harmful to them may carry this. It helps to ease the symptoms of an allergic reaction.)

It is advisable to wear an insect repellant when going into grassy (and wooded) areas that may be infested with insects and ticks. Also try and reduce the risk of insect infestations at home by making sure that there is no standing water in your garden such as buckets or stagnant birdbaths.

Please remember that these “First Aid Basics” are merely guidelines. We recommend that everyone attends a basic First Aid Course. In most instances, time is crucial and often will be the determining factor in whether someone will survive or not.

Time saves lives, Helivac saves both!

“Helivac is a complete emergency medical solution comprising affordable air medical transportation with advanced, rapid response medical care and state of the art equipment for all members through a single emergency number: 0861 HELIVAC (South Africa)”

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