Feb 24 2014

Insect Bites and Stings

 Insect Bites  and Stingsinsect biting into skin

If you are in any way allergic to insect bites or bee stings your first port of call must be to consult a medical professional for full testing before venturing out into the wilderness.

If you find out you are actually allergic to bees, for example, once you are out in the middle of nowhere this kind of survival situation can be prove to be fatal.

Your body can go into an Anaphylactic shock, this is an allergic reaction to certain insect bites/stings such as scorpions, bees and even certain snakebites – it can also be caused by a reaction to certain foods such as peanuts and tree nuts.

* You must carry any medications you need * to control the histamines that will be released by your body. AND, make sure others in your party also know of your allergies.

It is important that you always have the proper medicines with if you know you are allergic.

Know what your allergies are is an essential part of your emergency preparedness planning.

diagram of insect biting into skinIf you get stung by a bee use a knife blade or fingernail to scrape the stinger out from the skin –  never try to squeeze it out, because you will only land up releasing more of the venom into your system.

Nature has medication available to help you.

If stung or bitten you can mix some mud and wood ash together and then dab it onto the affected area, or use cold compresses if you have one in your medical kit,  and if nothing else is available cover with a piece of cloth dipped in water.

Some people have reported relief by crushing some dandelion leaves or the flower stem and then rubbing the sap from the crushed plants on the area to soothe the sting or bite.

It is always recommended to carry a good medical kit when going into the wilderness and it’s also a good idea to prepare for bites and stings – including scorpions, snakes, ticks etc – I would carry a Extractor Pump Kit to initially ensure you get as much venom and sting out of the skin as possible.

The Sawyer Pump Kit (shown here on the right) is perfect for that job.

Then swab the area with a good Antiseptic Sting Relief Swab – at this point you have done as much as you can to prevent any further infection.


Ticks can be tricky 

tick burrowing into skin

Ticks present a bigger problem if not spotted early – once attached to your skin, a tick will burrow its head into your skin for fresh blood. However, if you simply pull the tick out, it will leave the head attached, below your skin, which can cause infections.

A simple solution to remove a tick is by covering the tick with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) – you would normally be carrying some in your fire starting kit anyway – if not, cover with with pine resin other tree sap or you can even use some cooking or other heavy oils.

By doing this, you will deprive the tick of vital oxygen which will force it to release itself.

Once removed from your skin, Do not squeeze the tick – wash the area and wipe with an antiseptic swab, including your hands.

Do not throw the tick away – the most common tick borne disease is known as “Lymes disease” and if left untreated can cause some serious human complications.

It is therefore recommend that the tick is saved in case of illness, where the type of disease can be identified…. Wrap it up safely and seal it away, but keep it nevertheless – if you do fall very ill, chances are the tick was carrying a disease – if you have that tick it can then be analysed afterwards.

If you really do need to get the tick out fast, the first rule is to avoid trying to pull it out with your fingers. If you detach its head in your skin you are asking for trouble – if you squash it you then risk pumping the contents of its body into your system..!! not pleasant eh……

There is a small tool available to do exactly that job – designed to allow you to get right over the tick, press down and twist, then draw the tick out – its called the Contech Tick Twister Pro (shown here on the left)


Spiders and Scorpion Bites

A spider bites or scorpion bite must be cleaned immediately in order to prevent any bacteria from getting into the wound.

Although quite rare, it is possible, in some cases, for a scorpion or spider bite to cause an anaphylactic shock, though it is rare.

Death is also quite rare fro a spider or scorpion bite, but it is possible if the victim has underlying medical conditions.

Use the same methods of treatment for these type of bites as above.