Bees, bumblebees, wasps, hornets, fire ants, yellow jackets, ticks, mosquitoes, chigger bites, etc. – Their stings may cause an allergic reaction, sometimes resulting in death. This reaction is known as an insect venom allergy. The problem is not with an allergy to the insect but with the venom.
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Difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness, labored breathing, weakness, confusion, severe swelling, and feeling of panic. A more severe reaction results in the closing of the airway and/or shock (cyanosis and a drop in blood pressure), producing unconsciousness. In the case of tick bites, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease may be carried by the ticks. Just as mosquitoes carry malaria. Preventing the stings or bites is far preferable than a remedy.
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Use tweezers to remove the stinger from the skin.
Reactions can occur within minutes or hours.
If treatment is not sought immediately, death can result.
If you have a known allergy to a particular venom, have a doctor prescribe an emergency treatment kit. For ant, mosquito, and chigger bites, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Apply a paste made of baking soda and water to help draw out the vwnom.
For chigger bites, use a brush and scrub.
Use ice packs if swelling occurs.
For tick bites, do not use home remedies such as kerosene, turpentine, or petroleum jelly. Remove the tick as soon as possible with tweezers, placed close to the skin and trying not to leave the head or any part of the tick in the skin. The quicker the tick is removed, the chances of contracting Lyme disease are less.
Do not touch the tick with your hands. Once removed, scrub the area with soap and water.
If stung by mosquitoes, horseflies, bees, or wasps, rub the site with crushed yarrow leaves immediately. This reduces the itching and the swelling.
Another remedy for bee or wasp stings: the ivy vine growing on the garden wall or a tree. Take a few leaves and some bark, crush them between your fingers and rub onto the sting. Its better if you have some ivy tincture in your home.
Easy to prepare ivy tincture: Gather ivy leaves and cut off some of the green bark, then pass them through a mincer. Pour alcohol over the mash and let stand for a week or so. When ready, press through a sieve, filter and bottle. A few drops of this tincture rubbed lightly on a sting will quickly relieve the pain.
Also effective, compresses made with salt water to which a few drops of ivy tincture is added.
Any of these treatments reduce swelling and helps neutralize the poison.
In case of hornet stings, it is better to see your doctor. Antihistamines given by injection or by mouth reduce later-appearing symptoms.
Calamine lotion helps relieve itching.
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- Basil, sweet
- Betony, wood
- Black cohosh
- Bowman’s root
- Cohosh, black
- Dog fennel
- Goat’s beard
- Indian strawberry
- Labrador tea
- Lemon balm
- Lettuce, wild
- Lion’s foot
- Marsh tea
- Wild hyssop
- Witch hazel
- Yam, wild
- Yerba santa
Sometimes, brewer’s yeast, garlic, or vinegar rubbed on the skin deters insects.
Repel fleas with oils of cedar, citronella, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, rue and rosemary.
To avoid insect stings, wear plain, light-colored clothing, avoid wearing anything that is flowered or dark.
Don’t wear perfume, suntan lotion, hair spray or shiny jewelry.
Avoid wearing sandals or loose-fitting clothes.
Calendula ointment is an excellent insect repellent and counterirritant.
Swimming in a pool with chlorine will rid you of insects you have picked up, or bathe with chorine in the water.
Avoid alcoholic beverages, this causes the skin to flush and the blood vessels to dilate, which attracts mosquitoes and horseflies.
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