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Chapter 20: Bites and Sting Emergencies

Defined:

Accidents from bites and stings can happen at home, work or even while you are traveling. It’s important to understand the various types of bites and stings and what First Aid care should be provided. If one experiences an allergic reaction to the bite / sting, First Aid may involve the use of an epinephrine pen (Chapter 7).

Causes:

Animal and human bites
Bee, Wasp stings
Insect (ant), spider and snake bites
Jellyfish sting
Scorpion bites and stings
Ticks

Signs and Symptoms:

Abdominal pain
Feeling generally unwell
Joint pain
Lack of appetite
Muscle spasms
Puncture marks on the skin
Rash, headache and fever

 Common Emergency Example(s):

Animal and Human Bites:

A bite that punctures the skin can cause bleeding and lead to an infection. Bites that do not break the skin may require minor First Aid. It’s important to understand that the reaction to a punctured bite will vary depending on the germs that were in the biter’s mouth / saliva.

If you notice that an animal is acting strangely, be sure to keep your distance. Some animals may carry rabies and require immediate medical attention, i.e., dog, cat, skunk, bat, raccoon or other wild animals.

Snake Bite:

Poisonous snakes release venom when they bite. You should always assume that a snake is poisonous if you are not able to tell from the bite mark. Symptoms of a poisonous snakebite can include: pain, swelling near the bite area, nausea, vomiting and weakness.

Stings- Bee, Wasp, Spider, Scorpion, Insect:

Unless a person is allergic to the source of the sting, a person may experience a minor reaction. Stings usually lead to itching, swelling and minor pain.

Remember some stings may be more dangerous, if the source is poisonous (i.e., scorpion, poisonous spider). In these instances a person will experience more severe symptoms such as: fever, severe pain, seizures, vomiting, breathing problems and may even stop responding.

First Aid Actions / Treatment:

  1. Assess the scene and check for your safety.
  2. Activate EMS (Call 9-1-1).
  3. Get a First Aid kit and wear personal protective equipment.
  4. If person is experiencing:
    • Animal / Human bite: apply dressings to stop any bleeding; apply ice on the bite for up to 20 minutes
    • Snake bite: don’t move the part of the body that was bitten; remove tight clothing
    • Stings: get an epi-pen if a person is allergic to the sting; for a bee sting, scrape away the stinger and poison sac with a dull edge (don’t squeeze the sac); apply ice for up to 20 minutes
    • Ticks: grab the tick with tweezers by the head or mouth (don’t twist or squeeze it), and wait for the tick to detach from the skin
    • Jellyfish sting: wash the infected area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds
  5. In all instances, clean the bite / sting area with soap and running water.
  6. If necessary for severe reactions, provide CPR. If you do not know how, give Hands-Only CPR.

Chapter 20: Bites and Sting Emergencies

Defined:

Accidents from bites and stings can happen at home, work or even while you are traveling. It’s important to understand the various types of bites and stings and what First Aid care should be provided. If one experiences an allergic reaction to the bite / sting, First Aid may involve the use of an epinephrine pen (Chapter 7).

Causes:

Animal and human bites
Bee, Wasp stings
Insect (ant), spider and snake bites
Jellyfish sting
Scorpion bites and stings
Ticks

Signs and Symptoms:

Abdominal pain
Feeling generally unwell
Joint pain
Lack of appetite
Muscle spasms
Puncture marks on the skin
Rash, headache and fever

 Common Emergency Example(s):

Animal and Human Bites:

A bite that punctures the skin can cause bleeding and lead to an infection. Bites that do not break the skin may require minor First Aid. It’s important to understand that the reaction to a punctured bite will vary depending on the germs that were in the biter’s mouth / saliva.

If you notice that an animal is acting strangely, be sure to keep your distance. Some animals may carry rabies and require immediate medical attention, i.e., dog, cat, skunk, bat, raccoon or other wild animals.

Snake Bite:

Poisonous snakes release venom when they bite. You should always assume that a snake is poisonous if you are not able to tell from the bite mark. Symptoms of a poisonous snakebite can include: pain, swelling near the bite area, nausea, vomiting and weakness.

Stings- Bee, Wasp, Spider, Scorpion, Insect:

Unless a person is allergic to the source of the sting, a person may experience a minor reaction. Stings usually lead to itching, swelling and minor pain.

Remember some stings may be more dangerous, if the source is poisonous (i.e., scorpion, poisonous spider). In these instances a person will experience more severe symptoms such as: fever, severe pain, seizures, vomiting, breathing problems and may even stop responding.

First Aid Actions / Treatment:

  1. Assess the scene and check for your safety.
  2. Activate EMS (Call 9-1-1).
  3. Get a First Aid kit and wear personal protective equipment.
  4. If person is experiencing:
    • Animal / Human bite: apply dressings to stop any bleeding; apply ice on the bite for up to 20 minutes
    • Snake bite: don’t move the part of the body that was bitten; remove tight clothing
    • Stings: get an epi-pen if a person is allergic to the sting; for a bee sting, scrape away the stinger and poison sac with a dull edge (don’t squeeze the sac); apply ice for up to 20 minutes
    • Ticks: grab the tick with tweezers by the head or mouth (don’t twist or squeeze it), and wait for the tick to detach from the skin
    • Jellyfish sting: wash the infected area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds
  5. In all instances, clean the bite / sting area with soap and running water.
  6. If necessary for severe reactions, provide CPR. If you do not know how, give Hands-Only CPR.