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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bites and Stings

Insects and related pests are hazards in a survival situation. Insect bites and stings are common, and most are considered minor. They not only cause irritations, but they are often carriers of diseases that cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. It is only when the insect is poisonous or when the patient has an allergic reaction and runs the risk of developing anaphylactic shock that the situation becomes an emergency. Even under those conditions, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment can save lives and prevent permanent tissue damage. In many parts of the world you will be exposed to serious, even fatal.

The normal reaction to an insect sting is a sharp, stinging pain followed by an itchy, swollen, painful raised area. The swelling may be there for several days but usually goes away within 24 hours. Local reactions are rarely serious or life-threatening and can be treated with cold compresses.

However, there are some people who have allergic reactions to "normal" insect stings. Approximately 50 people die each year in the United States from insect stings. This is more than all other bites combined including snakebites. Thousands of people are allergic to bee, wasp, and hornet stings. Insect stings can be deadly for those people, on the average, within 10 minutes of the sting but almost always within the first hour.

The stinging insects that most commonly cause allergic reactions belong to a group of the hymenoptera, the insects with membranous wings. These include bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. Stings from wasps and bees are the most common.

Ticks can carry and transmit diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever common in many parts of the United States. Ticks also transmit the Lyme disease.

Mosquitoes may carry malaria, dengue, and many other diseases.

Flies can spread disease from contact with infectious sources. They are causes of sleeping sickness, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.

Fleas can transmit plague.

Lice can transmit typhus and relapsing fever.

The best way to avoid the complications of insect bites and stings is to keep immunizations (including booster shots) up-to-date, avoid insect-infested areas, use netting and insect repellent, and wear all clothing properly.

If you get bitten or stung, do not scratch the bite or sting, it might become infected. Inspect your body at least once a day to ensure there are no insects attached to you. If you find ticks attached to your body, cover them with a substance, such as Vaseline, heavy oil, or tree sap, that will cut off their air supply. Without air, the tick releases its hold, and you can remove it. Take care to remove the whole tick. Use tweezers if you have them. Grasp the tick where the mouth parts are attached to the skin. Do not squeeze the tick's body. Wash your hands after touching the tick. Clean the tick wound daily until healed.

Treatment

It is impossible to list the treatment of all the different types of bites and stings. Treat bites and stings as follows:

  • If antibiotics are available for your use, become familiar with them before deployment and use them.
  • Predeployment immunizations can prevent most of the common diseases carried by mosquitoes and some carried by flies.
  • The common fly-borne diseases are usually treatable with penicillins or erythromycin.
  • Most tick-, flea-, louse-, and mite-borne diseases are treatable with tetracycline.
  • Most antibiotics come in 250 milligram (mg) or 500 mg tablets. If you cannot remember the exact dose rate to treat a disease, 2 tablets, 4 times a day for 10 to 14 days will usually kill any bacteria.

How about another creatures’ bites and stings ?

There are anothers poisonous creatures’ bites and stings, such as bee, spider, scorpion, snake, and gila monster. Even most varieties of creature are nonpoisonous.

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