Worried About Summer Pests? Here’s How To Provide First Aid For Bites And Stings
In Victoria, the warmer months cause an influx in animal and insect bites and stings. An increase of encounters with pesky animals and insects such as snakes, spiders, ticks, bees and wasps is one of the few inconveniences of the season but it doesn’t need to put a dampener on an otherwise sunny day if you know how to provide First Aid for bites and stings.
What Happens If You Suffer From A Bite Or Sting
Bites and stings generally only cause mild pain, discomfort, itching, swelling and redness around the affected area. However, depending on the area of a sting it could have fatal consequences if stung inside the mouth, on the tongue or throat.
Australia is home to a number of poisonous animals and insects. If bitten or stung by these creatures the outcome can potentially be deadly if the injured doesn’t receive the appropriate First Aid for bites and stings in the first initial moments.
Whether you suffer from a bite or sting from a deadly or relatively harmless critter always use the appropriate First Aid for bites and stings to prevent infection and aid the beginning of the healing process.
First Aid for Various Bites And Stings
There are many different native animals and insects in Victoria that can inflict bites or stings which cause a variety of side effects. Although there may be different species of animals and insects the First Aid for bites and stings for each category remains the same.
Follow our tips on how to provide First Aid for bites and stings for Victoria’s most common offenders:
There are more than 20 spiders that are commonly found in and around workplaces, homes and gardens throughout Victoria but most will only cause mild irritation through manageable symptoms if bitten. However, the Australian Funnel-web Spider and Redback Spider bite affects the nervous system and can be severely dangerous if anti-venom is not provided. These are the only two spiders that have caused deaths in Australia in the past.
Ticks are often known to attach themselves to our beloved house pets but they do also pose a risk to people. The consequence of a tick attaching itself to a person is much less severe than for cats and dogs, but should still always receive First Aid.
Signs and symptoms:
Pain at bite site
- Swelling and redness
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty breathing & swallowing
- Persistent headache
- Aching joints
What to do:
- Remove tick using fine-tipped forceps - try not to squeeze body of the tick and take care to ensure that no head parts are left on the skin
- Use a cold pack to relieve pain and swelling
- If unsuccessful in removing tick, seek medical aid
- If patient shows sign of weakness, difficulty in breathing/swallowing, or persistent headache/fever/aching joints, call 000
Bees, Wasps, and Leeches
Whether it’s a bumblebee, honey bee or wasp people are generally wary of the buzzing bugs in the summertime. Bee stings can be life-threatening or cause severe permanent complications from allergic reactions.
Signs and symptoms:
Moderate to severe pain at the bite or sting site
- Swelling and redness
- Other effects, such as shock, dizziness or nausea may also occur
It's worth noting that a leech bite produces the same signs and symptoms as bee or wasp stings, with the addition of severe bleeding.
Due to the varying climates in Australia, we see a large number of different snake species across the country. There around 140 land snakes and 20 sea snakes in Australia, and Victoria is home to many.
To find out a more in-depth outline of Australia’s deadly snakes and how to provide First Aid if you suffer a nasty encounter with the agile animal, read our Snake Bite First Aid Tips.
Much like us, summer is the time certain animals and insects emerge from hibernation and explore the environment around them. Most of the time these animals and insects are harmless and uninterested in us but you never know when your First Aid for bites and stings may become useful.
Summer is a time for adventure and the increased presence of pests certainly doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your time out in the sunshine. Knowledge of how to provide First Aid for bites and stings provides peace of mind to those confronted with a slithering snake, creepy-crawly or buzzing bug in the summertime.
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