Find out all there is to know about insect stings and bites in South Africa. Some are toxic and need attention. Others are harmless. Can you tell the difference?
You might be in the water, on a hiking trail, or sitting in your home or garden. Insects you encounter have a variety of ways to protect their territory. They also need to protect their young and themselves.
You could be bitten or stung when getting too close to bees, fleas, spiders, wasps, and other insects. Many simply won’t bother you at all, but recognising the telltale signs of a dangerous bite or sting can make a huge difference.
Common Insect Bite Reactions
The fear of being stung or having a reaction to being bitten is more common than the actual incident. Some bites and stings can cause immediate skin reactions, while others cause no harm. Some bites can remain undiscovered until it’s too late. We’re here to help calm your blood pressure with facts about which bites you should worry about.
- Stings and bites from insects such as bees, wasps, and ants can produce a range of skin reactions. These include anything from superficial injuries to itchy rash and allergic reactions.
- Stings from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants are extremely painful.
- Bites from mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs, and mites usually cause itching but not pain.
- Spider bites can be problematic or deadly. A person doesn’t always feel a bite the instant it happens, and that could lead to venom entering the body without notice.
- Tick bites are often painless, too. You may experience redness or swelling on the skin. The problem is that ticks can often transmit diseases like tick-bite-fever.
Normal reactions to non-venomous bites or stinging insect sites do not need medical attention. If you have been bitten or stung and cannot identify the critter that did it, however, it’s safer to seek immediate medical treatment. Poisoning, infections, and insect sting allergies are among the major risks.
Insect Venom and How It Enters the Skin
The first point of contact is usually a painful insect sting or bite site. Sometimes, however, we have a bigger reaction than a mere bite or sting. Some encounters are deadly, particularly if you get an anaphylactic reaction to insect venom.
Look out for severe symptoms when someone is stung or bitten. A skin reaction is normal, but a life-threatening allergic reaction is something entirely different. Severe allergic reactions require instant action.
Anaphylactic Shock Symptoms and Treatment
Skin reactions are easily treatable by applying an antihistamine ointment or other topical treatment, but certain individuals experience severe reactions to insect stings and bites. Some of these are life threatening and are caused by bees stings and other insect bites. When anaphylactic shock occurs, it could happen very quickly.
Anaphylactic shock symptoms could cause pains in the chest or an asthma attack. It can also cause swelling in the mouth and face. Other symptoms include difficulty in swallowing and breathing difficulties.
It is imperative to get the patient to the emergency rooms as quickly as possible. Some people have Epinephrine pens with them in cases of severe allergic reaction. These “epi-pens” can be applied immediately to save the life of a person with severe allergies.
The Best Ways to Treat Minor Insect Stings and Bites
- Wash the bite or sting site with care.
- Apply an antiseptic topical ointment for immediate relief.
- Use an ice pack to relieve the irritation.
- If you are concerned and have a severe reaction, seek immediate medical attention.
- Families with babies, children, and elderly parents should always keep an antihistamine cream in stock. You can also take oral antihistamine in some cases.
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen can be helpful.
- Finally, if you know about a severe allergy, always pack your epi-pen and ensure your companions know how to help you if a bite occurs. Ensure they administer any necessary emergency interventions such as an epinephrine auto-injector AND get you immediate medical care.
Remember to take these items along in a little first aid kit when travelling, hiking, and camping. Be prepared when enjoying any outdoor activity, particularly during the hot summer months.
You can prevent future reactions by preventing bites and stings to begin with. Do this by using insect repellent products. If you take part in outdoor activities, always pack in antihistamine creams and pills that suitable for all age groups and all skin types. You’ll be prepared for normal reactions.
What to do if a Wasp or Hornet Stings You?
When stung with a hornet or wasp, you will experience excruciating pain. The area will become swollen and red, painful, and then itchy skin.
The surrounding area around the wasp sting on the skin will also become swollen, which could last for up to a week. To treat wasp stings, you can wash the area, then apply a cold pack. Next, take anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling and apply antihistamine cream for any allergic skin reactions.
Although wasp stings and hornet stings are unpleasant, there is usually nothing more to worry about except the pain. Should you experience any breathing difficulties, it is advisable to seek first aid treatment. These symptoms could include dizziness and a swollen face or mouth.
What to do if a Bee Stings You?
You will know if you have been stung by a bee (it hurts). To treat a bee sting, start by removing the bee stinger. Scrape out the stinger with a coin or the edge of a credit card. Never remove a sting with a pair of tweezers, as this exacerbates the problem.
Wash the sting spot with soap and water, then apply a cold compress. You can take an antihistamine and mild pain medication to help treat the pain and allergic reaction.
Expect some discomfort for a couple of hours. There might be a mild reaction which could last for a couple of days. Should you experience dizziness, swelling in the face, or difficulty in breathing, it is best to seek immediate medical help.
How to Treat Mosquito Bites?
Mosquitoes are mostly harmless, unless they are vectors of diseases. In high-risk Malaria areas, you will need mosquito repellents and other protective measures. To prevent mosquito bites, you can apply mozzie patches or use other repellents to keep these biters at arm’s length.
If you are having problems controlling mosquitoes, call on the experts to help. Mostert Pest Control services will advise and assist to keep mosquitoes in check. Look out for symptoms such as a high temperature, chills, headaches, and a general feeling of being unwell.
You might find that the bites from mosquitoes leave small red bumps and blisters filled with liquid. Should you develop any worrying symptoms while in a Malaria hot spot, seek medical help without delay. Other concerning diseases spread by mozzies include the Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, and dengue.
Prevention is Better Than Cure!
The adage prevention is better than cure will play a large role when preventing stings and bites. Insect repellents are a great idea. Where you live and what time of the year could also determine insect activity. If you are concerned about insect infestations, it is time to seek the advice and assistance from your professional pest control specialists.
Get smart and contact us at Mostert Pest Control services for advice and a free quote!
If you are not sure how to tackle an insect invasion, it is best to get professional help today! We are here to assist. All you need to do is fill in a form and a Mostert Pest Control branch near you will be in touch.