How do you treat Insect Bites?

Bites of mosquitoes and gnats will produce immediate itching, and itching may recur thereafter for one or more days. They are generally disregarded. However, a paste of soda bicarbonate or a pledget of cotton dipped in household ammonia diluted with three parts of water may be dabbed on the bite. Calamine lotion may be applied for recurrent itching.

Bee bites can be treated by removal of the stinger with a forceps or tweezer, followed by local application of ice, then by calamine lotion or a paste of bicarbonate of soda. Bee bites can be dangerous and even fatal to sensitive individuals. Indications of such sensitivity are unusual local swelling, and marked general reactions such as weakness, faintness or collapse. If any such unusual reactions do occur with a child or adult. hypersensitivity exists and any further exposure to bee bites can be most hazardous. Extracts for producing desensitization are available and should be used in such cases. Otherwise strict avoidance of the countryside and areas where bee bites can occur is necessary. If exposure is unavoidable and undue sensitivity may still be present, tablets to be placed under the tongue (IsuprelĀ®) or an adrenalin inhaler such as is used by asthmatics should be carried on the person. The fact is that there are more fatalities from bee bite than from snakebite or any other kind of animal bite.

A few spider bites present special threats: the black widow spider, which is recognizable by the orange hourglass figure on its abdomen, injects a toxin which can produce serious general reactions including painful contractions of all muscles and collapse. It is found mostly in the southern United States. The brown recluse spider is found most commonly in the southwestern United States, most often in the cellars and basements of buildings. It does not attack unless disturbed. Its bite can produce a marked local breakdown of the skin as well as general reactions.

Scorpion bites also lead to an introduction of a toxin under the skin. They are not likely to be serious except in very small children. First aid for all of these bites may consist of tying a tourniquet above the site of the bite, much as for snakebite, and the application of ice to the area of bite. The patient should be taken to any nearby doctor’s office or medical facility.