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Bug Bites or Stings, First Aid

Bites or stings from insects (arthropods) are very common. Most reactions are mild and result due to an allergic reaction to either the insect or the toxins injected with the bite or sting. Some people have severe reactions to the stings of:Bees Wasps Hornets Yellow jackets These stings may require emergency help. The bites of most insects – such as ants, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ticks, bugs, and mites – do not cause such a severe reaction.Sometimes, it may be hard to tell which type of insect has caused the skin lesions, as many insect reactions are similar. Flying insects tend to bite any exposed skin areas, while bugs such as fleas tend to bite the lower legs and around the waist and often have several bites grouped together. Some individuals are far more sensitive to insects and have more severe reactions, so the fact that no one else in the family has lesions does not rule out an insect bite.First Aid GuideFor stings:Bees may leave a stinger behind – Try to gently scrape off the stinger with a blunt object, such as a credit card. Wash the wound with soap and water. Apply an ice pack or cold water for a few minutes. Take acetaminophen for pain and an antihistamine (diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine) for itching, as needed.For insect bites:Wash with soap and water. Apply cool compresses. Use antihistamines to relieve itching and take acetaminophen for pain. 1% hydrocortisone cream may help reduce the itching. For ticks (still attached), see the first aid section on Tick Bites.

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