Late summer bites
The days of summer might be getting shorter and cooler, but that doesn't mean you can forget about protecting yourself from pesky insects.
Bug bites from insects — think bees, wasps, flies, ticks and mosquitoes — can cause temporary discomfort and pain. They even can be deadly.
Bee and wasp stings
On average, 53 people die from bee or wasp stings each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bees typically leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. Wasps do not leave stingers behind and are capable of stinging more than once.
If a person is stung by a bee, follow these procedures:
- Remove the stinger and venom sac quickly. Take a credit card or driver's license and remove the stinger with a scrapping motion away from the direction the stinger is stuck in the skin. Do not pinch or use tweezers to remove the stinger and sac as this could cause the release of more venom.
- Wash the area carefully and thoroughly with soap and water.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for several minutes.
Look for the following symptoms of a severe or allergic reaction whenever someone is stung, and seek medical attention immediately should any of these symptoms occur:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid heart beat
- Swelling of lips or throat
- Unusual red and irritated skin
- Severe cramps or muscle spasms
- Dizziness, confusion or fever
Mosquito and tick bites
Mosquitos can carry the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. This virus can cause swelling of the brain and lead to a severe headache, high fever, confusion, weakness and even death.
Tick bites can put people at risk for contracting Lyme disease, a bacterial illness that can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart and nervous system.
Prepare your staff and counselors with safety precautions and emergency action plans should a serious health risk arise as a result of a bee sting or insect bite.
It's nearly impossible to avoid mosquitos and ticks, but following these tips can help prevent irritating mosquito bites or exposures to ticks.
- Use an insect repellent that contains 20 percent or more of DEET and is effective for several hours.
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats.
- When in tall grass or heavy brush areas, tuck pant legs into your socks to reduce the chance of ticks getting onto the skin.
- Avoid perfume or scented oils and lotions.
- Remove or avoid stagnant and standing water.
Anti-itch creams or antihistamines can help ease discomfort, swelling, and itching should a bite occur.
Visit https://www.churchmutual.com/campsafety to review more safety information.