Bites and stings
You can't always swot 'em away, so here are some survival techniques for dealing with that stinging sensation.
Wasps can behave aggressively, and it doesn't take much to make 'em mad. A wasp sting can also be painful, causing the area to swell and itch. Hornets are less commonplace, but a sting from one can cause the same grief.
- Remove the stinger. Avoid using tweezers to do this, however, as it can squeeze more venom into the body. Instead, carefully scrape a blunt edge over the stinger, such as a credit card or the back of a plastic knife, which will encourage it to ping free.
- Experts recommend applying vinegar to the affected area to relieve itching, and popping a painkiller if necessary (though always follow advice on the packet when it comes to taking any medicine).
- Also watch out for allergic reactions. Don't hesitate to seek medical treatment should it leave you feeling dizzy, cause swelling through the body and/or difficulty in breathing.
Less aggressive than a wasp, but will sting if provoked.
- Remove the stinger. Avoid using tweezers to do this, if possible, but removal is a priority as the stinger can carry on pumping venom into the body for 20 minutes.
- Apply a cold compress to the area, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
- Take a painkiller to ease the discomfort.
- Watch for allergic reactions, and seek emergency medical treatment if you're worried.
Less likely to strike in the UK, but as commonplace on your package holiday as bad swimming shorts and dodgy bathroom plumbing. Mosquitoes are basically blood-suckers, but it's their saliva that causes 'a bite' (a red bump, or whelt, on the skin) that can irritate for days.
- Avoid itching. Even a casual scratch can stir up an irritation that is hard to leave alone.
- Wash the area with soap and water to avoid the risk of infection, and apply calamine lotion to relieve the irritation.
Tend to harass you before attempting to suck your blood - so running fast is a useful avoidance measure. If you are bitten, you'll quickly know about it - these buggers bite, and it hurts.
- Wash the affected area with warm water and mild soap.
- Apply an antiseptic cream to reduce the risk of infection.
- Take a painkiller to ease any discomfort.
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