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Injury Prevention and First Aid Tips

Many emergency room visits are preventable. Here are some first aid tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe from common injuries:

Bites & Stings

Nov 18, 2019

Bites and Stings:

  • Control bleeding.
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Call physician.

Animal bites:

  • Control bleeding.
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Call physician.
  • Notify animal control.

Insect bites and stings:

  • Remove stinger by scraping with dull-edged item (e.g. a credit card).
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Apply ice, a cold pack or a cold, wet washcloth for several minutes.
  • To relieve itching, apply a paste of baking soda and water, meat tenderizer or a dab of household ammonia.
  • For pain, take acetaminophen, or take an over-the-counter antihistamine if your doctor approves.
  • Pain and swelling should be relieved within 72 hours.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for stings in the nose or mouth. Swelling may block airways.
  • Seek immediate medical help if an allergic reaction develops. Symptoms include: massive swelling, hives or rash, difficulty breathing, tightness in the throat or chest, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting.

Snake bites:

  • Call ambulance.
  • Do not apply ice.

Safety Tips

The best protection is to avoid bites and stings. These safety tips can help:

  • Wear insect repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) when you go outside. For children, only use products that contain less than 10 percent DEET. Consult your pediatrician before using these products on a small child.
  • Wearing long pants tucked into socks and a long-sleeved shirt help protect you against mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Light colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot and also makes you less attractive to bees.
  • Check frequently for ticks when you are outdoors or in the woods. Deer ticks are very small—the size of the head of a pin. Dog ticks are larger.
  • Make sure there is no standing water in your yard, such as water in buckets and stagnant ponds or birdbaths. Mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in standing water.
  • Be careful at picnics. Sweet foods and drinks attract bees and wasps. Keep food and trashcans covered.
  • Don’t wear sweet-smelling perfume.
  • Wear shoes outside in the grass; especially when mowing the lawn.
  • Stay away from beehives and wasp nests.
  • Don’t try to swat bees or wasps with your hands. Stand still until they fly away.
  • Be careful near woodpiles, sheds, dark corners of the garage and other places where spiders tend to live.

If bitten or stung:

  • If bitten by a mosquito, try not to scratch. Scratching irritates the bite and may cause infection.
  • Contact the doctor if you have flu-like symptoms and suspect West Nile virus.
  • Remove ticks with tweezers as soon as they are found. Grab them as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick up and out.
  • See a doctor if symptoms of Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever appear. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, aches and fatigue. There may also be a “bull’s-eye” rash around the site of the bite. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include fever, aches, nausea and vomiting.
  • If stung by a honeybee, do not pull the stinger out. Honeybee stingers have a small hook at the end. They will eventually fall out on their own.
  • If stung by a wasp or hornet, leave the area immediately. These insects can sting repeatedly. Gently scrape the stinger off using the edge of a credit card or your fingernail. You might squeeze more venom into the skin if you use tweezers.
  • Bee, wasp and hornet stings may feel hot and itch. A red bump or swelling may appear where the sting was. Treat bee and wasp stings by washing the area with soap and water, then applying cold water or ice.
  • If there appears to be an allergic reaction to a sting—hives, nausea, fever or trouble breathing—go to the emergency room.
  • If bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider, go to the emergency room.