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How to Give a Stinging Response to Bug Bites

August 08, 1992|From Associated Press

When you're in the great outdoors this summer, be wary of little creatures. Insect stings and bites can cause several health problems. These include bee stings, Lyme tick and mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes

Mosquito bites are usually no more than an irritating nuisance. However, if scratched, the bites can become sites of skin infection. To help children avoid the temptation to scratch, apply calamine lotion, which should reduce the irritation.

Bees, wasps and hornets

If you live in an area with flowering plants, you and your children run the risk of a bee sting. Bees pollinate flowering plants. They are members of the insect family hymenoptera , which includes wasps and hornets. All have the ability to sting.

Pain and swelling are the most common reactions to an insect sting. When treating these reactions, be sure to remove the stinger. A stinger that isn't removed continues to release venom.

After removing the stinger, apply ice to the wound. Then rub in meat tenderizer or baking soda. The enzymes in these compounds will weaken the venom, speeding relief.

Watch children for signs of an allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction to an insect sting include irritability, breathing problems and skin color change. Anyone who develops such a reaction should be taken immediately to a hospital emergency room for treatment.

Lyme ticks

In some parts of the United States, ticks transmit Lyme disease, an inflammatory disorder that can cause heart and nervous system problems and arthritis. The ticks are known to be carried by field mice and deer.

A tick must be in the skin for 24 hours before transmitting Lyme disease. After spending a day in the woods or an open field, be sure to check children for ticks, which are about the size of the head of a pin.

To remove, cover the insect with petroleum jelly. The ointment will suffocate the tick, which can then be more easily pulled off the skin.

Signs of a Lyme disease infection, which may occur within a few weeks, include a skin rash of expanding, concentric circles and flu. If Lyme disease is suspected, seek medical attention.

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