Bites and stings are relatively harmless and not detrimental to your long-term health. But there are some specific risks that should make you vigilant in trying to prevent them.
Some ticks, for example, can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever; others can transmit Lyme disease. Spider bites and bee, wasp and hornet strings are painful, but usually not life-threatening. But some people can have a potentially fatal allergic reaction to stings, and some spiders, such as the brown recluse and female black widow, are poisonous enough to be very dangerous. In addition, there is the growing danger of West Nile virus, which is transported by some mosquitoes and can cause serious problems in people with compromised immunity.
When it comes to animal bites, snakes are usually the first culprit that comes to mind. And though not all snakes are poisonous, a snake bite should often be viewed as a medical emergency. Bites from other animals can put you at the risk of developing rabies, among other illnesses, so it always pays to have any bite checked out by a medical professional.
Prevention and Treatment of Bites and Stings
Considering some of the risks, it’s best to take preventive steps to avoid dangerous bites and stings. With things like snakes, animals, and bees, wasps and hornets, avoidance is the best form of prevention. Take great care to not confront animals in the wilderness and wear appropriate clothing when in dense woods to protect your body.
Avoiding other types of insects is often more difficult, but you can protect yourself by using insect repellant properly. You can also use mosquito netting when camping outdoors and even get clothing and camping gear that is treated with permethrin to keep bugs at bay.
Checking your body and hair for ticks at regular intervals while outdoors is a good way to minimize their risk. And, of course, keep an eye out for any unusual bites or stings, as well as any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms that begin after you get one. The symptoms vary, but if you experience any medical symptoms after receiving a bite or sting, it’s worth a visit to a doctor to ensure that you haven’t developed an illness.
SOURCES: U.S. Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Identifying where disease-carrying ticks are hiding.
Though the virus is mainly spread by mosquitoes, it can be transmitted through blood transfusions
But study was small, more research is needed
But experimental treatment only tested in monkeys so far, researchers say
New methods could be used along with older control techniques, such as bed netting
Dermatology expert offers advice on tick removal and avoiding them in the first place
Study finds two disease-carrying species could thrive in three-quarters of the country
U.S. health officials warn that cases of the illness are on the rise
And help prevent Zika and West Nile
It's usually someone's pet
Teach kids ways to prevent dog bites, pediatricians' group says
More research is needed on effects in primates and humans, researcher says
Facing expected season-long shortage, doctors urge patients to carry EpiPens just in case
Emergency physician says make safety your top priority to avoid seasonal threats
Steps to take the bite out of dangerous bugs
Stings, bites, outdoor cooking and even fireworks keep poison control centers hopping
Expert advice on what to do if you're bitten and how to prevent a bite in the first place