First Aid For Animal, Human, or Insect Bites

Scorpion Bites
Scorpions are lobster-like arthropods in the arachnid class (the same class as spiders), with a curling stinger at the end of their tail, and are usually found in desert areas of the Southwest and Mexico. Scorpion stings are not likely to be fatal and are easy to treat, but are more dangerous to children and the elderly. Symptoms include immediate pain or burning, minor swelling, sensitivity to touch, and a numb or tingling sensation.
The steps below should be followed for treating scorpion bites:

  1. Wash the area with soap and water.
  2. Use a cold pack on the area for ten minutes, repeating as necessary at ten-minute intervals.
  3. Call the Poison Control Center for any severe symptoms.

Deadly Arizona Bark Scorpion, African King Scorpion and her sting

Tick Bites
People who live near wooded and grassy areas or who spend recreation time in these locations are most susceptible to tick bites. These tiny arachnids feed on the blood of mammals such as deer, rodents, and rabbits and are able to carry disease from animal to human. First aid for tick bites includes removing the tick immediately to avoid the bite reactions and reduce any possibility of developing one of the tick-borne infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
To remove a tick:

  1. Use a pair of flat or curved forceps or tweezers and take hold of the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible, and gently remove it without squeezing the tick.
  2. Clean the area with soap and water and apply antihistamine or 1% hyrdrocortisone cream.
[Alert : Don’t put petroleum jelly, alcohol, or ammonia on ticks—they will make ticks bury deeper. If you live in a high-risk area and get a tick bite, always call your doctor for advice as you may need to get additional medical care including antibiotics]

Ticks, tick burrowing in skin and lyme disease bullseye rash


Spider Bites
Of the many spiders in the United States, only blackwidow spider and brown-recluse spider bites are dangerous or potentially life threatening to humans. Some species of tarantula can cause serious but not life-threatening local reactions. Identifying the type of spider that has caused the bite can often aid in the treatment and may even save the person’s life.

Symptoms of black-widow spider bites can appear one to twenty-four hours after the bite and include numbness at the bite site, dizziness, sweating, skin rash, intense muscle and chest pain and muscle spasms, severe abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty breathing and tightness of the chest. You may also have pain at the bite site, white blisters that sometimes form painful ulcers (craters), rash, swelling and tenderness, weakness, stomach and joint pain, and fever.

Black Widow Spider and her bites

brown-recluse spider and her bites

The following steps should be taken for spider bites:

  1. When bitten by a suspected nonpoisonous spider, wash and treat the bite site as outlined for cuts and lacerations, cover the bite with a clean dressing, and consult a doctor if any signs of infection develop.
  2. For all black-widow or brown-recluse spider bites, call 911 or go immediately to an emergency department in order to receive treatment, and in the case of blackwidow bites to receive antivenom.
  3. Monitor the person’s ABCs and place them in a sitting position.

Rattlesnakes, copperhead, cottonmouth (water moccasin), coral snake, and cobras are some of the many poisonous snakes. Symptoms of a snakebite include:
  • Fang marks in the skin
  • Bleeding
  • Blurred vision
  • Warmth and burning at the sight of the bite
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Severe pain at the site of the bite
  • Skin discoloration and swelling
A nonpoisonous snakebite will usually produce a horseshoe-shaped ring of tooth marks on the person’s skin, producing mild pain and possibly swelling. First-aid treatment of a nonpoisonous snake bite includes:
  1. Washing the bite with soap and water
  2. Covering the site with a sterile bandage or dressing
If you are unsure of the date of your last tetanus shot, consult with your doctor about a booster shot. Bites that begin to swell and change color are usually indicative of a poisonous snake. Take the following steps for a poisonous snakebite:
  1. Call 911 and the Poison Control Center immediately so that antivenom can be ready when the person arrives at the emergency department.
  2. Calm the person, limit movement, and keep the affected area below heart level to reduce circulation of venom.
  3. Remove jewelry or other constricting items and apply a loose splint to help restrict movement.
  4. Monitor temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure if you are able. Manage signs of shock
Do not bring the dead snake in unless it can be done safely, and know that snakes can bite for up to an hour after they are dead. Don’t allow the person who has been bitten to exert himself; carry him if you have to transport him. Don’t apply a tourniquet or any cold compresses to the bite. Never cut into a bite or try to suction the venom by mouth. Don’t allow any medications unless instructed by a doctor and don’t give the person any food or drink.

Insect Stings
Insect stings only produce a mild reaction in most people. Multiple stings, stings in the mouth and throat, and stings to persons with adverse allergic reactions to the venom, however, can produce anaphylactic shock and must be treated immediately. (click here for anaphylactic shock treatment)
First aid for stings includes:
  1. Wash the sting site with soap and water.
  2. Use a cold pack if needed to reduce swelling.
  3. Keep the site of the sting below the person’s heart if possible.
Additionally, using calamine lotion and Benadryl (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) can relieve itching and swelling. Also a paste of baking soda and water, or uncoated aspirin, will help reduce the stinging pain and reduce inflammation.

If the person has received a bee sting:
  1. Quickly and carefully scrape the stinger away with a knife, credit card, or fingernail without touching the sack that’s attached; this sack will still be pumping venom into the wound.
  2. Do not use tweezers or squeeze the sack, as this may inject even more venom into the person.
  3. Wash the site with soap and water and apply a cold pack, keeping the sting site below the level of the person’s heart if possible.

Yellow-Jacket Wasp Bee and his sting

You can use a credit card to scrape stinger out

Watch for signs of an allergic reaction that can develop up to twenty-four hours after a bee sting. If the site becomes infected, seek medical attention. In case of allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock, or sustained multiple stings, call 911 or go to an emergency department for treatment and observation. Multiple stings can produce life-threatening reactions in otherwise healthy people.

Bugs Bites
Head lice bites
They like to hide in the neck and behind the ears. If you have lice, you likely got it from sharing a hat, brush, or other item with a person who has lice. Lice are itchy, but scratching can lead to infection. In severe cases, hair may fall out. To kill lice and their eggs (called nits), use lotions, creams, or shampoos from the drug store or prescribed by your doctor. Wash clothing, bedding, and brushes to prevent the spread of lice. Check all household members, and treat everyone who has nits or lice.

head lice and the scratch infection

Flea bites 
Fleas are small, wingless, agile insects that live off the blood of their host – and they don't just bite pets. They dine on people, too. Some people are very sensitive to flea bites — but scratching can cause a wound or infection. The best solution is to get rid of fleas on pets and in your home. Keep pets out of your bed and be sure to vacuum rugs daily. Spray insecticides on infested areas. Consider using a once–a–month insecticide on your pet.

Flea and their bites

Fire Ants bites
Fire ants look much like ordinary ants — and are found in most of the Southeastern states. They produce large mounds in open areas and are aggressive when disturbed. During an attack, the fire ant latches onto the skin with its jaw, then stings from its abdomen. It may inject venom many times. The fire ant sting typically causes red hive–like lesions that burn and itch. Painful pus–filled lesions can also occur. Cold packs, pain relievers, and antihistamines can help relieve the discomfort. A large number of stings may trigger a toxic or severe life–threatening allergic reaction. Get emergency care.

Fire Ant and her bites

Bedbugs bites
Their name tells the tale, as these tiny insects tend to hide in bedding. They are often found in hotels, shelters, and apartment complexes — and can hitch a ride into your home aboard luggage, pets, and boxes. Bedbugs leave itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, it is possible to develop an infection from scratching. If you have an allergic skin reaction, use creams with corticosteroids and take oral antihistamines and see your doctor.

Bedbug and her bites

Puss-Caterpillars sting

The most poisonous caterpillar in the U.S., puss caterpillars, can be found in Southern states where they feed on shade trees like elm, oak, and sycamore. The poison is hidden in hollow spines among the hairs. When a puss caterpillar stings, you may get waves of intense pain, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps. Remove the broken-off spines by using cellophane tape or a commercial facial peel and call your doctor.

Puss-caterpillar and her sting

Animal Bites

Cats and dogs cause most animal bites. Cat bites can cause very deep puncture wounds and present a serious risk of infection because punctures cause bacteria to be forced deep into the skin and tissues. Dog bites also carry a risk of infection and increased incidence of damage to affected tissues. These bites usually produce marks that have broken the skin and sometimes bleeding, depending upon the severity and location of the bites. Redness and swelling typically occur within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. For animal bites, check with a veterinarian for related health risks and have the wounds looked at by a physician. Your doctor may want to administer a tetanus shot and in some cases antibiotics. Keep the pet safe and secured in your custody until a doctor has evaluated the bite and the proper health authorities have ruled out any transmittable diseases. For severe bites or when the injured person loses consciousness, check for airway, breathing, and circulation and begin CPR, call 911, and manage for shock until help arrives. For minor bites, take the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and wash the bite under running water for at least five minutes.
  2. Clean the bite with soap and water, saline solution, or povidone-iodine.
  3. Stop bleeding with direct pressure and treat the bite as outlined for cuts and lacerations.
  4. For unbroken skin, apply a cold pack.
  5. Raise the wounded limb above the level of the person’s heart (if possible) to reduce any swelling.
  6. Check the bite site daily for signs of infection such as increased swelling, redness, or discharge.
Large and deep puncture wounds require medical attention. Always seek medical help for bites involving the neck, face, and hands due to the risk of serious infection and/or scarring.

Human Bites
Human bites can be more dangerous than animal bites because of the high levels of bacteria and viruses contained in the human mouth. Human bites also have a high risk of infection. Even in minor wounds, infections can lead to complications such as severe joint infections. In the case of human bites, avoid putting the wound in your mouth because this adds bacteria to the wound. Take the following steps for human bites:

  1. Use soap and water or saline to wash the wound thoroughly if the skin around the wound is not broken— never attempt to clean a wound from a human bite that is actively bleeding.
  2. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound, cover with a nonstick bandage, and continue to watch the area carefully.
  3. Seek medical attention if there is numbness or if the fingers cannot be straightened or bent.
  4. If the skin is broken and bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop any bleeding. Elevate the area, cover the wound with a clean or sterile dressing, and seek medical help.
  5. Get medical attention within twenty-four hours of being bitten in order to prevent complications from any deep wounds.
Seek medical attention for any signs of infections including warmth around the wound, swelling, pain, pus discharge, or signs of tendon or nerve damage such as inability to bend or straighten a finger and loss of sensation over the fingertip.

[ source : The Everything First Aid Book by Nadine Saubers, R.N. , ]

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1 comment:

Joeffrey said...

Where did that head lice came from? Is there any way to stop them? coz it’s kind of annoying when they are living on you, your scalp will be itchy and sometimes you can’t concentrate on your works. The most things are when I was in a meeting and in front of my co investors I scratch my head and I can’t stop it coz it’s so itchy.