First aid guide – How to treat insect bites and stings

In most people, an insect bite or sting causes only a painful swelling with redness and itching at the site of the sting. But some people are severely allergic to these stings and being stung may cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. This is known as anaphylaxis. First aid for insect bites and stings

Always ask the casualty if they have ever had an allergic reaction to a string before. They may carry emergency medication to use in the event of being stung.

If you suspect the casualty is having a serious allergic reaction to a sting, place him at rest and give first aid for a severe allergic reaction.

Signs and Symptoms at the site of a bite or sting:

  • sudden pain
  • swelling
  • heat
  • redness
  • itching

Signs and Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction to a bite or sting:

  • general itching, rash
  • generalized swelling – especially of the airway
  • breathing difficulties that may be severe
  • anxiety, abdominal cramps, vomiting

First aid for an insect bite or sting

Seek urgent emergency medical help if the casualty shows signs of a serious allergic reaction

1. Examine the sting site closely, looking for the stinger that may still be in the skin. If it is there, remove it by carefully scraping it and the attached poison sac from the skin. Scrape the stinger from the skin with a sharp edge like a knife blade or a credit card. Don’t use tweezers, fingers or anything that may squeeze more poison into the body.

2. For the irritation at the site of the sting, apply a cold compress or icepack to reduce the swelling and inflammation.

3. If the sting is in the mouth, give the person a piece of ice to suck on. If there is swelling in the mouth, or if there is difficulty breathing, monitor the person closely and get medical help

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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