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How Do You Deal with Insect Bites?

To have a literal bee in one’s bonnet is no small thing for an Australian. The country’s rich flora and fauna also constitute a variety of insects and arthropods—many of whom bite or sting, inflict minuscule puncture wounds on human skin, and possibly leave traces of venom. Cumbersome species that are indigenous to Australia are honey bees, European wasps, bed bugs, mosquitoes, bull ants, Australian jack jumpers, head lice, spiders, and centipedes. 

Different species leave different marks on their human victims. A bite or sting may result in a simple patch of irritated skin or cause something as serious as anaphylaxis (an acute allergic reaction). In a study done by R. E. Welton, D. J. Williams, and D. Liew for the Internal Medicine Journal, titled “Injury trends from envenoming in Australia, 2000-2013,” the researchers’ data recorded more than 12,000 hospitalizations from bee, hornet, and wasp stings; just under 12,000 hospitalizations from spider bites; and still another 4,500 admissions for bites from ticks and ants. 
Insects can be the very definition of “small but terrible,” and it’s best to be prepared to deal with bites and stings at all times. Here are 7 crucial tips to help you do so. 
Educate yourself on the nuances of different insect bites and stings at a first aid course.
There’s no better preparation for the variety of situations you can incur than your completion of a first aid training course in Australia that includes modules on treating insect bites and stings. Such training will impact how to apply different first aid techniques, but it also covers additional knowledge of insect and arthropod species, how their behaviors in the wild differ, and how best practices for alleviating bites and stings differ from species to species.

Treat allergic reactions from bug bites like emergencies.
In some cases, a companion of yours may manifest symptoms of an allergic reaction. Some severe ones to watch out for are difficulty in breathing, difficulty in speaking because of swollen tongue or throat, coughing, and dizziness. If these happen, be quick to dial Triple Zero (000) for immediate medical assistance. You can also contribute to the afflicted person’s allergy management routine if you are already knowledgeable of it.

Include insect repellent, bug bite ointments, and pain relievers in your first aid kit.
It’s good practice to keep several iterations of an emergency kit for use at home, at school, in the workplace, or in one’s car if one is travelling. But you should also make sure to supplement the items in these kits with medicine, repellent, and other products that address insect bites or stings. Among these are: calamine lotion or other mild creams to treat itching, antiseptics, painkillers, mild soap, and spray repellent.

Keep ice or cold packs handy.
In the case of wasp stings or centipede bites, cold compress serves as effective pain relief. Knowing this, you should store multiple blocks of ice or cold packs in your home freezer, or include them in a cooler if you will be going outdoors. 

Wear protective clothing, especially if you are doing something outside.
Combat bites and stings to be incurred outdoors by wearing clothing that shields your arms, legs, neck, and other vulnerable body parts. Fabrics that can sufficiently protect you are rayon, polyester, nylon, and denim. If you’ll be gardening in your backyard and handling mounds of soil, don’t forget to wear gloves.

Ask for the help of pest control experts if you suspect an infestation in your home.
Bites and stings that happen every once in a while are a trouble on their own, but bug infestations are trickier. If there are signs of bedbugs, hornets, mites, or other pests making their nests inside your home, you should play it safe and call a professional exterminator to get to the root of the problem.

Encourage your family members to be vocal when they are uncomfortable, or when something is out of the ordinary.
Last but not least, train the members of your household to tell you when a bug bite or sting feels different from normal, or if they suddenly experience redness, pain, itching, or swelling that they haven’t before. This may be a sign of a greater problem in your environment, such as an insect outbreak, but it is best for everyone to be aware of it than to totally ignore the circumstances.  
With this knowledge on your side, there’s less to fear about the insects of Australia and more to enjoy when exploring the great outdoors. 

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