Preventing and Treating Insect Stings and Bites

Getting stung by an insect can run the gamut of being an annoyance to posing a severe risk to your health. As soon as the weather warms up, all types of pests come out of hiding and typically wreak a little havoc to communities across Charlotte. Although there’s no foolproof method to stop bug bites, you can take steps to prevent attracting insects while outdoors.

1. Watch What You Wear

Certain articles of clothing will attract more insects to your person. Bright colors and floral patterns may make you appealing to flying insects. Wearing close-toed shoes can protect your feet from bug bites. Although the spring weather makes you want to wear less clothing, ideally cover your skin with long-sleeve shirts and pants. This is especially important while gardening. Insects also tend to flock to those who use fragrances. Avoid hair products, perfumes, aftershaves, makeup, and lotions with strong floral or fruity scents.

2. Beware of Nests

In many cases, if you don’t bother bugs, they won’t bug you. You never know when you may inadvertently mow over or trim nearby a beehive. Check all branches, under gutters, and in the corners of doorways during the springtime for evidence of nests. While eating outdoors, be careful around trash cans and nearby bodies of water. If you do eat or drink outside, keep everything covered and dispose all items as soon as you’re finished.

3. Insect Repellant

Insect repellant can be purchased at any drugstore and protects against many outdoor pests. Insect repellant is especially important if you are going into the woods and have a chance of being exposed to ticks. Read all labels to see what insects the spray protects against.

4. Don’t Freak Out

Staying calm is hard to do when a bee or wasp is flying in your direction, but this is an important rule to follow. Avoid flailing your arms or making rapid movements since this increases your likelihood of getting stung.

First Aid for Bug Bites

For mild bug bites, first remove yourself from the area where you were stung. Then, take the stinger out of the skin if you can still see it. Tweezers, a fingernail, or a plastic credit card can all assist in removing a stinger from the skin’s surface. Clean the affected area with mild soap and warm water. Prepare an ice pack and place directly on the skin to alleviate pain and swelling. Depending on your symptoms, certain over the counter creams and sprays may help. For instance, calamine lotions relieve itching while lidocaine sprays temporarily relieve pain. Over the counter pain relievers and antihistamines may also be used as needed after a bug bite or sting.

For people who are allergic to insect bites, emergency treatment must be sought immediately. Depending on the severity of the reaction, emergency medical personnel may give you antihistamine, steroids or adrenalin. Signs of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, and hives. In patients with a history of insect bite reactions, they may already have a shot of epinephrine (adrenalin) to carry along with them.

An important thing to remember is never remove nests or hives from your property. Contact Carolina Pest Management for professional help. The trusted and experienced staff will keep you and your family safe this spring season from dangerous insects.

By Kristin Dodd

Kristin Dodd, the President of Carolina Pest Management, has been with the company full-time for over 20 years, but has been a part of the family-owned business for much longer. She is currently an active board member of the North Carolina Pest Management Association, and was the President from 2010-2011. She is a licensed operator in...

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