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How To Avoid Insect Stings

Aug 11, 2008
Liz and seventeen-month-old Cade had a wonderful day at the zoo. When they returned to the car, Liz strapped the toddler into the child safety seat, which unfortunately also held some food crumbs.

As Liz drove away, Cade began screaming uncontrollably. Liz tried to calm him, but nothing would work, so she wisely headed directly to the doctor's office.

It didn't take the doctor long to discover the problem - Cade had been stung inside his diaper by a bee lured through the open windows of the car by the sweet smell of food.

After the stinger was removed, and a few more tears were shed, Cade was once again the bubbly, enthusiastic boy that everyone loved.

Stinging insects! We can't live without them, so we'd better learn to live with them. Here are a few tips.

What To Wear, Where To Be

* When you might be exposed to stinging insects (mainly bees, yellow jackets, hornets and wasps), dress in long pants, a lightweight, long-sleeve shirt, and a hat.

* Do not wear bright-or dark-colored clothing, flowery prints, or shiny jewelry. Dull white, khaki, and solid light colors are best.

* Avoid floral-scented sprays, deodorants, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, powders, and perfumes.

* Avoid places where stinging insects congregate, such as: gardens with blooming flowers, garbage areas, stagnant pools, seldom-used buildings, and junk piles.

* Keep your yard clean and mowed, and free of standing water.

* Don't go barefoot in the grass.

* Don't reach into a space you haven't looked into.

* When cooking outdoors, cover food and beverages.

* Fill in potential nesting sites such as tree cavities and wall cracks.

* Seal food scraps in a plastic bag and put it in a tightly closed garbage can that is lined with a garbage bag.

* Insect repellents do not repel stinging insects, such as bees.

* When drinking sweetened beverages outdoors, use a cup or a plastic cover with a straw.

* If a stinging insect lights on you, brush it away. Do not slap it against your body. That will trap it and give it the chance to sting.

* If you stumble on a nest, don't wave your arms and hands to swat the insects away. Instead, get up slowly and walk away calmly, taking any food or drink with you.

Bad Beesness

* When bees are nearby, avoid rapid movements that may look like attacks. Bees usually don't sting unless disturbed or angered. Stinging is their defense.

* Bees will respond to vibrations and exhaust from mowers, trimmers, and chain saws. Check for bees before using this equipment.

* If you are attacked by bees:
-run away, and try to get inside a car, building, or heavy brush.
-if possible, wrap your head. Leave an opening for your eyes.

Allergic Reactions

Over 2 million Americans can have serious reactions to insect stings and bites. The National Safety Council reports that bee stings kill 50-100 people each year.

If you are stung:

* Remove the stinger immediately because venom can pump into the body for up to 10 minutes. Gently scrape the stinger with a fingernail, credit card, or edge of a sterilized knife. Pinching the stinger squeezes venom into the wound.

* Use ice packs and sting-kill ointment for swelling and pain.

* See your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms: trouble breathing; wheezing; fainting or dizziness; hives or skin rash; nausea, abdominal pain, or cramps; rapid pulse; diarrhea; chills; facial swelling, or swelling beyond two joints.

* If you are stung in the mouth or throat, swelling of your airways can occur. Go to the nearest emergency room immediately, even if you are not allergic to insect stings.

* Anyone who has had serious reactions to insect stings should carry an insect-sting first-aid kit, and wear a medic alert bracelet. Consult your doctor for details.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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