Works For Me Wednesday: Remedies for Insect Bites & Stings

I decided to participate in W4MW again this week, and in keeping with my Summer Safety theme, I came up with a list of treatments for wasp, yellow jacket, and bee stings. Shortly after I met my husband, we were outside walking, and I got stung. I had told him before that I was allergic to wasps & bees. And in the days following the sting, he admitted to me that he had kinda thought I was exaggerating a bit about how allergic I was, that is, until he saw how badly swollen my foot got. When he saw that my foot was still swollen after 4 or 5 days, he swore he’d be taking me to the hospital if I ever got stung again…and looking back, that’s probably not a bad idea.

It’s funny…as I think about all my topics for this week’s posts, I’m reminded why I don’t like the outdoors…because every time I go out there, something happens to me!

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If you are highly allergic to wasp & bee stings, you should seek immediate medical attention. Don’t wait for the the sting to swell, etc. At the emergency room they will remove the stinger & will most likely give you a shot to prevent pain, swelling, and itching.

Otherwise you can take care of the stings yourself through a number of techniques and treatments. Here are some which I have used to provide relief:

If stung by a bee, you should remove the stinger as soon as possible. It is said that using a credit card for the removal of the stinger, rather than using tweezers is best, as to prevent the stinger from breaking and/or releasing more poison in to your body. But the most important thing is to remove it.

Shortly after being stung, use tobacco on the sting. Use chewing tobacco or tobacco out of a cigarette. Place a few drops of water on the tobacco and then place it on the sting. Cover with a bandage or gauze. It doesn’t feel good to have this one the sting. You’ll feel a little pressure and a pounding/pulsating feeling. But this method is very effective at preventing some of the pain and swelling.

Take an antihistamine, such as a Benadryl.

As with other injuries, you should wash the sting with soap and water.

Ice may used to relieve itching and pain.

Use creams such as Cortizone or Benadryl.

Also, try Campho Phenique. I’ve never personally tried this for a wasp/bee sting, but Campho Phenique works wonders on mosquito bites (more so than the other creams), and I imagine that it would work better on stings as well.

Use a pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol for the pain.

Keep the sting elevated if possible. Elevation is very important; this prevents a lot of blood flow from going down to the area of the sting, and will help with pain and itching. And if stung on the foot, avoid walking if possible, as this will cause more pain and swelling. You should also avoid writing, typing, or doing other work with your hands, if you are stung on the hand.

Lightly rub the sting, Don’t Scratch!

What Has Worked for Others:
Here is a list of other items you can try. I’ve not used these personally, but on the around the internet, others have attested that these remedies work.

  • applying meat tenderizer
  • applying toothpaste
  • applying tobacco
  • applying chili paste
  • applying mint leaves
  • applying clay paste, and
  • applying a copper coin
  • applying hot water
  • applying lavender oil
  • baking soda
  • vinegar

To view other Works for Me Wednesday posts, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Summer Safety: Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke

In planning for my posts for July & August, I’ve thought of a variety of topics having to do with safety. And since I try to make the posts relevant to the calendar and have the majority of the posts sort of build on one another or be on a common theme, I decided to make this week Summer Safety Week.

I’m starting with some information on heat stroke and heat exhaustion. As I child and as an adult, I’ve had heat exhaustion myself. As a kid, I wasn’t aware of what it was. But basically whenever I went outside for a long period of time, whether we were at a park, a ball game, minature golf, or just anywhere, I would suddenly become ill, and as a result we’d all have to go home. Even now, my husband and I go outside and play disc golf, and I have to be very careful about what I eat before we go, I can never go on an empty stomach, and I have to stay hydrated. And unless we go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, (after 5pm or later) I won’t be able to stay out for a long period of time without getting ill.

Luckily in the past I’ve come inside to rest before all the symptoms hit me, so I never actually had to go to the doctor, but a friend of my husband actually went to the hospital for this just last year. And with our humid climate and our heat index often being 100 degrees or higher in the middle of summer, we have a lot of heat exhaustion and heat stroke cases, some of which result in death. So it is definitely a topic to be informed about & to take seriously.

Who can get heat exhaustion or heat stroke? Anybody and everybody. But small children and the elderly are most likely to get it. And whenever you get it once, you are more susceptible to getting it again.

Symptoms:

Heat Exhaustion:
severe thirst
muscle weakness
nausea, sometimes vomiting
fast, shallow breathing
irritability
headache
increased sweating
cool, clammy skin
elevation of body temperature to more than 104 Fahrenheit (40 Celsius)

Heatstroke:
severe, throbbing headache
weakness, dizziness, or confusion
difficulty breathing
decreased responsiveness or loss of consciousness
may not be sweating
flushed, hot, dry skin
elevation of body temperature to 104 Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) or higher

Treatment:
Go indoors immediately. If you cannot go inside immediate have a seat in the shade.
If you are having heat exhaustion/stroke symptoms, don’t drive. And don’t let others who are experiencings the symptoms drive.
Take off clothing.
Lie down and elevate feet slightly.
Get into a bath of cool water or sponge yourself off. You may also apply cold rags or ice packs. In extreme cases, get in an ice bath.
If treating a child, place the child (if conscious) in a cool bath or sponge-bathe the child repeatedly. If outside, spray the child with mist from a garden hose.
Drink plenty of fluids. You should drink water, juice, or sports drinks. I also remember hearing that Pedialite was good because of the electrolytes it contains. (avoid drinks carbonated beverages, drinks containing caffiene, and alcohol.)
If you are treating a child who is vomiting, turn his or her body to the side to prevent choking.
Keep temperature monitored.
**If the person has a temperature of 104 degrees or higher, you could call 911 immediately. If you suspect the person has heat stroke, treat them while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Prevention:
Avoid being out in the extreme heat, especially for an extended period of time.
Drink plenty of water and other fluids before going outside and while outside.
Wear clothing that is light in color and loose fitting. Wear hats.
If outside, stay in shaded areas.
Stay in an Air-Conditioned Environment if possible.
If you’re home isn’t air conditioned, go somewhere that is, and if you have air conditioning turn it on! (last year a woman in our area died from heat stroke in her home. She had air conditioning, but she didn’t have it on b/c she didn’t want her electric bill to go up.)
If you have an elderly relative, friend, or neighbor, check on them frequently, and make sure they are keeping their home cool and avoiding the heat.
Do all yard work in the early morning or at the very end of the day (after 5 pm) to avoid getting over heated.
If you work in the heat, take breaks often, and go inside for your breaks if possible.
Avoid running, bike riding, and other strenuous exercise in the middle of the day.
If outside in the middle of the day, pace yourself to preserve your energy. (Don’t run when you can walk. Etc.)
Eat small meals, and eat frequently. Avoid eating foods high in protein, as this increases Metabolic Heat and increases Water Loss.
**At first sign of any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, get out of the heat immediately. Don’t try to wait it out. If you are outside with anyone else, let them know what is going on so that they can treat you if necessary.

Safety Concerns & The Magic Eraser

A reader left an interesting comment about the Magic Eraser product view that I posted. The comment stated that the Magic Eraser contains formaldehyde; this concerned me, and so I decided to check it out. I responded to the post in the comments section, citing statements made from the Mr. Clean website, but for some reason whenever I try to post the link on the comments page I cannot get the entire link to come up, so I decided to post it again Here.

Here is some of the information from the site:

“A recent television broadcast may have raised concerns about an ingredient in Magic Eraser. Be assured Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is completely safe when used according to directions, and poses no health risks or safety concerns. Here are some facts about the ingredients used in Magic Eraser:

The ingredients in Magic Eraser have been safely and commonly used for many years in a wide range of household products.

Formaldehyde is not and has never been an ingredient in Magic Eraser. One ingredient in Magic Eraser (formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer) contains the word “formaldehyde” in its chemical name. However, this ingredient is not formaldehyde and poses no health or safety risks. (Think of this name like “sodium chloride”, which is table salt. Sodium by itself can be dangerous, but sodium chloride – salt – is safe.).

Magic Eraser is considered non-toxic. As with any sponge-like product, when swallowed this product may block the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, we do advise to keep this product out of the reach of children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion – it is not a toy.

It is possible that formaldehyde may be present in minute, trace amounts as a result of the manufacturing process. Even then, the amount present is significantly lower than standards established by governmental agencies and trade associations, and is actually less than what is found in indoor air.

In fact, no ingredients in Magic Eraser are subject to any health-related labeling laws in North America or in the European Union.”

Of course, you can do the research and decide for yourself whether you want to use the product. For other information on safety, see the following:
http://www.homemadesimple.com/sites/en_CA/mrclean/ME_Truth/index.shtml

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

  1. Stay in well lit areas.
  2. Only trick or treat in neighborhoods you are familiar with.
  3. If you live in an area where you don’t have a lot of neighbors, take your kids to a safe neighborhood where a friend or family member lives, or go to a safe neighborhood near a school or church.
  4. If you have older kids who are going out without a chaperone, have them to go in groups, and remind them to stay together.
  5. Set a curfew time for kids who are going out without a parent.
  6. Have the kids wear comfortable walking shoes.
  7. Make sure their costumes are not dragging on the ground.
  8. Remind the kids to stay out of the road and to watch for cars.
  9. Make sure your child’s costume doesn’t cover their eyes or blur their vision.
  10. If your kid is carrying a sword, wand, pitchfork, or some other prop, make sure that the object is not sharp enough for him/her to injure himself/herself or others.
  11. Remind kids to walk and not run in order to avoid falling in the dark.
  12. Make sure your kids know not to eat any candy until you have inspected and okayed it.
  13. Don’t let your kids go out after dark unless they are chaperoned or in a group.
  14. Have your kids carry a flashlight or glow stick so that they can see where they are going and avoid tripping/falling and so that they can be seen by cars.
  15. Don’t allow small children to have hard candy or suckers.