First aid for bites and stings
Post Date
23rd April 2014
First aid for bites and stings

Playing outdoors has huge benefits for children and Australian families should be encouraged to do more of it, not less! A report by Planet Ark observed that outdoor play has been credited with keeping up Vitamin D levels, lowering the risk of poor eyesight, reducing stress and depression, boosting self esteem and improving creativity. Outdoor play is also a factor in fighting childhood obesity. Fantastic as it is, we share the great outdoors with many other creatures, some of whom are inclined to bite and sting. There’s no need to avoid outdoor activity altogether – just get to know the first aid basics so you can cope with the occasional nip or bump.

Ant and fly bites
Everyday ants and flies aren’t much bother, but bull ants, sandflies and march flies can give you a bite that causes swelling, pain and redness. If you get bitten, wash the area and apply an ice pack. If the swelling or itching is causing discomfort, pop in and see your pharmacist, who may suggest an antihistamine.

Bee and wasp stings
If you’ve been stung by a bee or wasp, your first step is to remove the venomous sting. Use a fingernail or the edge of a credit card to gently scrape over the sting until it slides out. Don’t use tweezers as they can squeeze more venom out of the sting. Wash the area with soap and water, then apply an icepack. An ibuprofen-based pain reliever, like Nurofen or Nurofen for Children for your little ones, can ease the pain and reduce swelling. If you notice a rash developing or you are having some trouble breathing, it could be an indication of an allergic reaction, so head to the emergency department of your local hospital.

Caterpillar stings
Certain species of caterpillars have hairs that can cause painful, inflamed reactions if they become embedded in your skin. As with most stings, the first step is to get the stings out. The hitch is that caterpillar hairs are very brittle and can break when tugged with fingernails or tweezers, leaving part of the hair embedded in your skin. You might like to try removing the hairs by laying sticky tape over the affected area and pulling it off repeatedly. Once the hairs have been removed, use an ice pack to relieve the pain and swelling.

Mosquito bites
Mozzie bites are all but unavoidable in Australia. Usually they are itchy rather than irritating, but some people who are particularly sensitive can develop painful red swellings at the site of the bite. An ice pack can provide some relief. Alternatively, try an anti-itch cream like an old-fashioned calamine lotion or something with a more advanced formulation like Lanacane C Cooling Cream Medication, which contains an anaesthetic to dull the reaction and antibacterial agents to keep the bite free form infection.

Spider bites
Funnel-web and red-backs spiders are some of the most dangerous spiders in Australia, but there are also many other spider species capable of delivering bites that hurt. If you’ve been bitten, try to identify the spider. If it’s black and glossy, it could be a funnel-web, in which case you should wrap the affected area in a firm pressure bandage, call 000 and wait for an ambulance. If it’s black with a red mark on its back, it could be a red-back, in which case you should wash the area with soap and water, apply an ice pack, and head to your GP for further advice. For most other spiders, wash the area, apply an ice pack and take a pain reliever if you wish. You are unlikely to need professional medical care unless the bite doesn’t start to heal within a few days or it gets infected.

Please note, the above information mostly concerns reactions to bites that are minor. If you or your child has a severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting, such as red blotches or itchy rash on your body; swelling, especially around the lips and eyes; or difficulty breathing, call 000 immediately.


LIVE WELL RECOMMENDS

Lanacane C Cooling Cream Medication
Lanacane-C is an anaesthetic cooling cream with an antibacterial agent to kill germs. Use topically for short term first aid treatment of minor skin conditions such as insect bites and stings, nettle stings, contact dermatitis and for the temporary relief of simple peri-anal itch. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult a healthcare professional.

Nurofen for Children Pain and Fever Relief
Nurofen for Children is a pleasant tasting sugar-free, colour-free syrup formulated to target pain and fever in children. It provides fast, effective relief for pain associated with teething, toothache, earache, sore throats, headache, minor aches, sprains and strains, colds and flu. It will also help reduce a temperature for up to eight hours.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Do not give to babies under 3 months of age. Seek medical advice for children under 12 months of age.

Nurofen
Nurofen is effective in the temporary relief of pain and/or inflammation.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult a healthcare professional