As the warmer weather approaches we all love spending more time outside, but if we’re not careful, that can leave us vulnerable to insect bites, creepy crawlies, bee stings and pesky mosquitos. You may be itching already just reading this, but don’t run for the hills just yet (there may be ticks there anyway). Luckily there are a few things you can do to avoid them. Learn more about how to protect your family against common insect bites and stings from our emergency medicine physicians at eMedical Urgent Care
- BEES, WASPS, HORNET STINGS
The scourge of summer, bees, wasps and hornets are more annoying than dangerous, unless of course you’re severely allergic to their stings.
What to Do?
Keep sweet-smelling plants away from any windows, don’t leave fruit out and make sure all bins are covered. If you’re being attacked, run and seek shelter away from the swarm, in a car with the windows rolled up, a house, a building, or any place that is not exposed to the outside.
Hydrocortisone cream should help with swelling, but if someone is stung and they are allergic, get the victim medical help immediately. Even if the victim is not allergic, or is unsure, but receives multiple stings from the swarm, it’s also important to seek medical attention.
It is estimated there are more than 100,000 different types of spiders, yet only a tiny fraction of 1 percent are harmful to humans. At the top of the list are black widows and the brown recluse. Both of these spiders are small, about 3/8 of an inch, and some individuals who have been bitten report little or no initial pain.
What to Do?
The best thing to do is to apply a cold compress or ice pack on the wound site and get medical attention right away. Some spider bites require administration of an anti-venom serum as in some snake bites.
The Zika virus, for which there is no vaccine or cure, has not yet started to spread in the continental United States. But that is expected to change as the warmer weather rolls around. While New Jersey is expected to be spared a serious Zika problem, several recent developments now are increasing concern.
What to Do?
The most effective way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is by removing standing water around your home, covering up appropriately when you’re outside and using mosquito repellant with approved Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.
May through July are prime “tick-birthing” seasons and a whole new crop of hungry ticks will be on the hunt for their first dinner of the season. Tick bites aren’t painful, but many can cause Lyme disease.
What to Do?
Cover up properly, avoid grassy areas and shrubs where tick populations are higher and use a repellant with DEET. Remember to always check yourself after being outside and learn the steps to remove a tick on our recent blog, “Tick Removal and Prevention.”
Walk-In Urgent Care for Insect Bites at eMedical
Bug bites and stings usually are just annoying, causing temporary discomfort and pain, but no serious or lasting health problems. But sometimes, they can cause infections that require treatment and allergic reactions that can be serious, even fatal. If you or a loved one experience the symptoms of anaphylactic shock, it’s important to call an emergency line for help. If symptoms are minimal, for example, the area of the bite is red, itchy or slightly swollen, we recommend an antihistamine and ice to cool the area.
Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707. We welcome you to walk in, get your exam and be on your way.