BITES & STINGS
Bites and stings can make your skin red and itchy with swelling that lasts up to five days. If you scratch, the area can become infected. You can have a bad allergic reaction even if you’ve never reacted to stings before. Signs of allergy include hives, flushed skin, itching, feeling sick, fever and trouble breathing. If you think you’re having an allergic reaction, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room at once.
Honeybees usually don’t sting but when they do, the stinger and poison sac break free and stay in the skin. Never squeeze the skin or use tweezers to remove a stinger. Flick the stinger with a fingernail or gently use the tip of a credit card until the stinger pops out.
Bumblebees are large yellow and black bees that don’t really like to sting. If they do sting, they don’t lose their stingers, so they can sting more than once.
Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets are more likely to sting than honeybees and can sting more than once. In late summer, yellow jackets make up a high number of stings in Indiana. They are often found around trash and food.
Biting insects include mosquitoes, fleas and flies. Insect bites are mostly mild and don’t hurt as much as stings. Bites can pass on diseases like West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.
Chiggers are mites, not insects. Their bite can easily be seen, but the mite itself is so small that you may not see it. Chigger bites are found underneath clothing.
Ticks can stay stuck to skin for up to 10 days before dropping off. Ticks spread Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (rare in Indiana) and Lyme Disease. Check your body and hair for ticks after being in wooded places. To remove a tick, hold the body close to your skin and pull slowly and gently. If the tick’s head breaks off in your skin, see a doctor. Wash your hands and skin with soap and water after removing the tick.
Spider bites usually don’t cause bad problems for humans. Spider bites are most likely to cause redness and swelling on your skin. This may last for a few days.
If you are bitten by a snake, get medical help at once. Rest and don’t move the part that was bitten. You may need a tetanus shot. Never cut the skin or try to take out the poison with your mouth.
Anaphylaxis is caused by allergies to stings and bites. Anaphylaxis needs to be taken care of at once. Call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room if a person who is stung:
If you know you are allergic to bee or wasp stings, ask your doctor about an allergy kit to carry with you.
To learn more about bites and stings, call the IPC at 1.800.222.1222.