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Bites & Stings

Some insects like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas bite as they consider our blood as a good source of food while other insects like wasps and bees may sting you as they may consider you as a threat. Mosquitoes inject us with saliva that leaves a severely itchy and red bump, while bees and wasps insert a poison that will make you scream and run.

For many of us, the sight of mosquito bites and insect stings are not at all uncommon. Insect repellent is an effective deterrent for many airborne pests. However, there are few insects whose bites are really bad and if not treated on time, they can even prove fatal.

Home Remedies for stings:
Given below are a few home remedies that will help one recover from the pinching pain caused by a sting or bite and protect the skin from further damage.

  • First and foremost what you need to do when you are stung by a bee is scrape away the sting as soon as possible. You can do this with the edge of a credit card, a knife blade or the nail of a finger. As long as the sting remains in your skin, the little sac of poison attached to it keeps pumping its contents into your body. Avoid using tweezers or pinching the area with finger tips as it may squeeze more venom into your skin.
  • Vinegar and solution of bicarbonate of soda in water are best for disinfecting the affected area. But, make sure you use the right solution. Bee stings are acidic so it needs alkaline neutraliser, whereas wasp stings are alkaline so, they need acidic vinegar to neutralise them. Dip a cotton wool into the liquid, and stick it on the affected area with the help of an adhesive tape. It will help to relieve redness and swelling.
  • Dab paste made out of aspirin tablets on to the sting. You can make the paste by crushing one or two aspirin tablets and adding required amount of water to it. The ingredients in aspirin help to neutralise the venom. But, this tip can be used by people who are above the age of 16 years and only if you are not allergic to the tablet.
  • Ice pack is a great remedy to numb the area and reduce pain, swelling and redness near the affected area. If you want to leave the ice pack for a longer period of time on the skin, wrap it in a napkin and leave it for about 20 minutes.
  • Papaya contains enzymes that neutralise insect venom. If papaya is readily available, lay a slice on the sting site for an hour or so to reduce the pain cause by the sting.
  • Sugar has a magical effect on the sting. Wet your finger and thumb, take a pinch of sugar and touch the sting site to heal it.
  • Tea-tree oil will help to reduce the swelling. Apply one drop several times in a day.
  • Lavender oil too can give you a quick relief from the sting. Dab one or two drops on the sting and wait for 15 minutes. If you still feel itchy, apply few more drops of oil & repeat at regular intervals. You can even use calendula cream, which is available in the market.
  • An old but a sure shot way to cure the bites and stings is to apply activated charcoal. It draws out the remaining venom that could cause inflammation and infection. You can purchase some from pharmacies and keep it handy in your first aid kit.

Home Remedies for bites:

  • Few drops of eucalyptus oil, clove oil or peppermint oil is sure to reduce the pain caused by an insect bite.
  • Mix a teaspoon  of cosmetic clay with required amount of water and make a paste. Add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to soothe and heal. Apply it on the bite or sting site and allow it to dry. Besides soothing the pain, it will provide relief from the itching and swelling caused by the bite.
  • Apart from giving a refreshing and cooling effect, peppermint oil can also increase circulation to the site of the bite. And thus, it helps to heal the bite. In case you do not have peppermint oil on hand, you can even apply toothpaste that contains peppermint oil.
  • To decrease the inflammation caused by itching, you can apply an ice cube on the bite.
  • Buy an anti-itch cream, and keep it in your first aid kit, so thet it can be used during such emergencies.
  • In case of snake bites, keep the victim calm to slow the rate of blood circulation. Wrap a bandage (even a kerchief will do) firmly around the bite, so that the poison does not spread further. However, don’t tie it so tightly that you cut off the circulation. This is a medical emergency, so see the doctor as soon as possible. Washing the bite or sucking the poison does not work.
  • If anyone is bitten by an animal, clean the area thoroughly, as animals’ mouths are full of infections. Cleaning will reduce the chances of infection. Wash the wound with running tap water. Get a dressing done by a nurse or a doctor. A tetanus shot too is necessary.

If someone has been stung by a bee or wasp and then has trouble breathing, feels dizzy or swelling in the mouth or throat, call the ambulance or see the doctor immediately. These are signs of a fatal allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anyone who has got multiple insect bites or stings needs immediate medical attention. However, before seeing the doctor, quickly practice any of the above mentioned home remedies to get some respite from the pain and swelling.

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