Animal and Insect Bites
Bites cause wounds that need treatment. Additionally, an animal's mouth contains bacteria that may cause infections, such as rabies or tetanus.
What to do
Flush the wound with water, cleanse with mild soap and wash the area thoroughly. If the skin is broken, move the area as little as possible and have it examined by a physician.
For pet bites, your physician may recommend bringing the animal to your veterinarian so that the animal can be kept under surveillance.
For wild-animal bites, call animal control or if you have restrained the animal (not recommended), turn it over to animal control authorities.
Although rabies infections in people are rare, they cause serious health problems. Any animal bites, even those that do not involve rabies, can lead to infections and other medical problems. Contact your physician immediately.
Bee and Insect stings
The danger of bee stings:
The two greatest risks from most insect stings are allergic reaction (which, in some individuals, can be fatal) and infection (more common and less serious).
What to do if you are stung:
If you have been stung by a bee, wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket, follow these instructions closely:
- Bees leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. Do not try to pull it out as this may release more venom; instead gently scrape it out with a blunt-edged object, such as a credit card.
- Wash the area carefully with soap and water. This should be continued several times a day until the skin is healed.
- To relieve swelling and itching, apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for a few minutes. Use a Benadryl type cream or calamine lotion for the itching.
- Take acetaminophen for pain. Make sure to follow dosage instructions for children.
When to seek medical attention:
Seek immediate medical attention if you are stung in the mouth or nose as swelling may block airways. Also seek emergency care if any of the following symptoms are present, as these could indicate an allergic reaction:
- large areas of swelling
- abnormal breathing
- tightness in throat or chest
- nausea or vomiting
- persistent pain or swelling