The warm weather and all that extra time outdoors puts your family at risk for bug bites, ranging from bees and spiders to scorpions and ticks, depending on where you live. Avoiding insect infected areas and wearing insect repellent are helpful in prevention, but knowing how to treat bug bites once they occur will minimize the impact bug bites have on your family’s health.
Treatment for stings
Bee and wasp stings can be painful but are usually not considered a medical emergency unless the person stung has an allergic reaction. Bees sting once and leave a stinger with a venom sac attached to the skin, while wasps don't lose their stinger and can sting multiple times.
If you are stung by a bee or wasp:
For bee stings, remove stinger as quickly as possible.
If the sting occurs in the mouth, seek medical help immediately since this can lead to severe swelling that blocks the airway passages.
Treatment for spider bites
Spider bites can be serious if the spider is venomous, such as the black widow, found throughout the US, or brown recluse spider, found primarily in the midwestern and southern US. Most spiders, however, are not poisonous. The black widow is easily identified by a black round body and orange hourglass on the underbelly. The brown recluse is a brown spider with a small violin-like shape on its back.
If you are bitten by a spider:
Wash bite with warm soapy water and keep area clean and dry until skin heals.
Treatment for scorpion bites
Scorpions, which are common in the Southwest desert areas of the US, can inflict a painful sting. Of the dozens of scorpion species in the US, only the bark scorpion, is considered dangerous, particularly for kids and the elderly.
If you are stung by a scorpion:
Wash the sting site with warm soapy water and keep it clean and dry until the skin heals.
Treatment for tick bites
Though only a small percentage of ticks carry potentially dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, immediate removal of the tick and proper treatment of the tick bite will reduce the risk of infection. Your risk for tick bites is highest in grassy, wooded areas.
If you are bitten by a tick:
Use tweezers to firmly grasp the tick near the tick's mouth by the skin and pull firmly until the tick releases its bite.
Be sure to vigilantly check for ticks on your clothing, skin and hair as well as your pets after outdoor activities.