Insect Bites & Stings
The long hot summer we’re currently experiencing has been fantastic. Unfortunately this wonderful weather is also good for our little friends who like to annoy with bites & stings, with recent news reports about Horseflies & other biting insects making a return in larger numbers than previous years.
Insect bites & stings often causes a small, red lump on the skin, which may be painful and itchy.
Many bites will clear up within a few hours or days and can be safely treated at home.
It can be difficult to identify what you were bitten or stung by if you didn’t see it happen. But don’t worry if you’re not sure – the treatment for most bites and stings is similar.
First aid for insect bites & stings
To treat an insect bite or sting:
- Remove the sting, tick or hairs if still in the skin.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for around 10 minutes.
- Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
- Avoid scratching the area or bursting any blisters, to reduce the risk of infection – if your child has been bitten or stung, it may help to keep their fingernails short and clean.
Traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, are unlikely to help, so we do not advise you use these as they may make the problem worse.
The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days. If the pain becomes severe, or the swelling and redness starts to spread then seek further medical attention, either from your local pharmacy or walk-in centre.
If the casualty has breathing difficulties associated with the bite or sting then dial 999 or 112 for the emergency services.
Removing a sting
If a sting has been left in your skin, you should remove it as soon as possible to prevent any more venom being released. many stings have a venom sac attached, so you should never pinch a sting out or use tweezers as this can inject more venom into the wound.
Scrape it out with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, in the opposite direction of the entry point. If there is bleeding at the site of the wound once the sting has been removed then encourage bleeding briefly before washing with warm, soapy water and covering with a plaster, if necessary.
Although recognising what has bitten you is not essential to the first aid treatment, you may be curious to find out what has been attacking you, the NHS has a great resource here.
Medsafe Consultancy is a First Aid Training Provider based in Northern Ireland. We provide a wide range of courses for all your First Aid needs. For your convenience we can travel to your workplace or venue to provide our high quality first aid training, which focuses on the practical aspects of treating casualties in a relaxed environment.
Contact us now for advice on what course is best for you.