Almost anywhere you live on this planet there are small creatures, tiny insects that attack to sting or bite you, either because they see you as a threat to their very existence or as food for their survival. Insect bite appearance is noticeable as one or more red bumps which are all extremely itchy. Yes, you want to scratch it – but don’t!
Easier said than done I know; problem is, scratching will exacerbate the itchiness and make it bleed. If you have a tick, flee or a mosquito bite, they have been feeding off you; and most irksome, is the thought of that nasty itchy bump left behind from a mosquito is actually full of its saliva. Insect stings are commonly from ants, bees and wasps; their sting penetrates your skin, injecting poison into you. Whilst ants and wasps will sting you several times, a bee stings once, leaving its stinger under your skin with a sac full of venom on the surface. The tendency is to panic and try to brush it off with your hand; but don’t, this only serves to pump in more of the venom and so will trying to remove it with your fingertips or tweezers. Yes, it’s a bit of a shock and it hurts! Keep a cool head, – slide your fingernail under the sac and scrape away the sting. You could use the edge of a blunt knife, or the edge of your bank or credit card.
A bee sting or a wasp sting can cause an allergic reaction which could be fatal if not treated urgently – medical attention is required immediately! The symptoms of allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, are: hives, swelling in the mouth and/or throat, laboured breathing and rapid heart rate. If you have many bites and stings, and you don’t have an allergic reaction you are not in danger – but you should seek medical attention immediately!
Assume you have been stung only once – the bee sting is out – with no reaction. Here are some natural health solutions to treat insect stings:
- For a bee sting, stir a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water until dissolved; then use a cotton wool bud to dip into the solution wetting the area, and then place it directly on the sting securing it with sticky tape.
- For a wasp sting, dip the cotton wool bud into vinegar; as with a bee sting, wet the area first, and then place it directly on the sting securing it with sticky tape.
- If you have Papaya handy, place a slice on the sting area. Papaya has enzymes that bring down inflammation and swelling.
- Garlic or onion rubbed on the sting site will do the job as well.
- Crush an aspirin, adding to water making a paste, apply to the sting to reduce the swelling. (WARNING: if you have an aspirin allergy DO NOT apply aspirin ever! And DO NOT use aspirin to treat children).
- Applying sugar works just as well to bring down the swelling .
Try rubbing on Calendula cream to reduce itching or a few drops of Lavender oil or Tea tree oil. If you take walks through forests, woodlands, meadows or moors, be aware that ticks attach to your skin; and as the little vampire tick bites and feeds off your blood they may infect you with Lyme disease, a bacteria called ‘Borrelia burgdorferi‘ which must be treated by a doctor. If you find a tick on your body, use tweezers as close to the skin as you can, gently pull until it free; try not to break the head or it will stay latched to your skin and cause infection. Once the tick is free, apply an antiseptic.
What to do about those mosquito bites, flee bites and other biting insects:
- Don’t scratch
- Applying an ice cube to the bite will reduce itching
- Bites can be treated with essential oils. Apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil, clove oil or peppermint oil on a cotton wool bud
- Roll-on or spray deodorants are known to work – give it a try
- Check your toothpaste label; if it has peppermint smear it on the bite
How do you prevent these pesky parasite’s bites and stings? Eat a couple of cloves of garlic daily before and when you go outside. Your sweat glands release the garlic smell which repels most insects. Don’t like garlic? You can use a repellent called Permethrin, a natural insecticidal property originally found in chrysanthemums. Permethrin is now sold in a spray can as a synthesized man-made insecticide. Spray it on the clothes you plan to go out in and hang them to dry. Make sure they are not light, bright coloured clothes as they will only attract the little varmints!
- Toddlers versus Bee Stings – What You Need to Know (everydayfamily.com)
- Bug Bites and Stings (everydayfamily.com)
- Wasps: (blogpestcontrol.com)
- Bee sting fatalities rare, says doctor (stuff.co.nz)