Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Bug bytes


During summer there is a noticeable increase in instances of insect bites. Insect bites sting but sometimes they cause–blisters, boils and diseases too. Now that kids will be having their summer vacation, there will be lot of outdoor games and activities in the long evenings and insect bite can act as a nuisance. My Health Guardian does a quick-check on the insect types and their stings.

  • Mosquito bites—Normally mosquito bite is no more than an itchy discomfort. Control itchiness with the following–
  • Wash the area well with water and soap.
  • Cold compress helps many people, so it’s worth a try.
  • Calamine lotion works and so does calendula ointment, which is an excellent repellent and counter irritant.
  • Rub dry soap over the mosquito bite. It reduces the itchy feeling and the swelling.
  • You can also use a banana peel which is to be used inside out. This provides relief from the bites.
  • Apply ice over the mosquito bite, some people swear by a small blob of toothpaste on the sting.

An innocuous looking sting can be deceiving! Diseases such as—malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya spread with a mosquito bite. Dengue is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are active in the morning. Typically, the disease is not fatal, but it can cause the blood platelet count to drop, leading to bleeding inside the body. Dengue shock might cause sudden drop in blood pressure. Once bitten dengue symptoms take a week to manifest. Suspect dengue in case of sudden onset of high fever, chills, intense headaches, muscle and joint pains and a crippling backache. Rush to hospital if your nose bleeds, eyes hurt and pain refuses to subside. Take paracetamol for pain relief in case of dengue and refrain from ibuprofen and aspirin.
Chikungunya resembles dengue fever and is characterized by severe pain in joints, rash and fever. The disease is rarely life threatening.

Do not let water collect in or around your house; use mosquito nets at night, also during the day if you nap and refrain from remaining outdoors during dawn or dusk—this is the time when mosquitoes can be at their virulent best.

Bee stings

Bee sting usually imbeds a stinger in the affected area. Use a firm object like credit card to sweep across the site and pull out the stinger. Don’t squeeze or pinch the skin to remove the stinger. This will cause additional venom to be released into the bite. Later, clean the affected area well with soap and water before applying ice or hydrocortisone cream. Benadryl in oral form helps control swelling and redness and an ibuprofen will help control the pain.


Bee sting is usually a defensive action on part of the bee. Refrain from swatting the flies or shoving them with your hands. You may end up with a sting.

Spider bite

Spider bites should be cleaned with soap and water. Use warm compresses several times a day and apply a topical antibiotic ointment, if needed. If you have a tick or spider bite, note the date on your calendar and contact your physician if you develop a rash or flu-like illness during the next few weeks.

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