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Insect Stings

Severe allergic reactions to insect stings are reported by about 0.5% of the population in the United States.
Fortunately, localized pain, itching, and swelling the most common consequences of an insect bite-can be treated with our first aid kit.

What to Look For
A rule of thumb is that the sooner symptoms develop after a sting, the more serious the reaction will be.

What to Do
Most people who have been stung can be treated on site, and everyone should know what to do if a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs. In particular, those who have had a severe reaction to an insect sting should be instructed on what they can do to protect themselves. They also should be advised to wear a medical-alert identification tag stating they are insects allergic.
1. Check the sting site to see if a stinger and venom sac
are embedded in the skin. Bees are the only stinging insects that leave their stingers and venom sacs behind If the stinger is still embedded, remove it or it will continue to inject poison for two or three minutes. Scrape the stinger and venom sac Honeybee
away with a hard object such as a long fingernail, credit card, scissor edge, or knife blade. If applied in the first three minutes, a Sawyer ExtractorTM can remove a portion of the venom.
2. Wash the sting site with soap and water to prevent infection.
3. Apply an ice pack over the sting site to slow absorption of the venom and relieve pain. Because bee venom is acidic, paste made of baking soda and ,water can help. Sodium bicarbonate is an alkalinizj acting agent that draws out fluid and reduces itching and swelling.
Wasp venom, on the other hand, is alkaline, so apply vinegar or lemon juice.
4. To further relieve pain and itching, some type of pain medication usually is adequate. A topical steroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, can help combat local swelling and itching. An antihistamil may prevent some local symptoms and later reactions if given early, but it works too slowly to coun teract a life-threatening allergic reaction.
5. Observe the victim for at least 30 minutes for sign! of an allergic reaction. Epinephrine is an effective,treatment for a person with a severe allergic reaction. A person with a known allergy to insect sting should have a physician-prescribed emergency kit that includes prefilled syringes of epinephrine. Because epinephrine is short -acting, watch the victim closely for signs of returning anaphylaxis. Inject, other dose of epinephrine as often as every 15 minutes if needed, available, and consistent with the
directions for use in the kit.

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