Tips for treating bug and snake bites, when to seek medical attention

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – If you plan to spend time outdoors during the holiday weekend, or anytime throughout the summer, be on the lookout for bugs and snakes. While most bug bites are harmless, insects can cause several diseases such as Zika, West Nile, and Lyme disease.

Summer in South Carolina means we’re surrounded by these creepy crawlers. If you find yourself with a bite The Mayo Clinic advises you to take note of your reaction.

Most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild and can cause symptoms like minor swelling, itching, and redness. If this is the case, The Mayo Clinic says to first go inside or to a safe area where you won’t get any more bites or stings. Then, was the area with soap and water. A cold compress can go a long way to reduce pain and swelling.

Other recommendations from The Mayo Clinic:

  • Apply 0.5 or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or a baking soda paste to the bite or sting several times daily until your symptoms go away.
  • Take an antihistamine (Benadryl, others) to reduce itching.

If more concerning symptoms, like dizziness, difficulty breathing, swelling of the eyes or throat, or nausea occur, seek medical attention.

“Any bug sting where you’re having trouble breathing or you feel swelling in your throat you should immediately go to the emergency room and any snake bite you should go to the emergency room,” said Dr. Noelle Jennings of Roper St. Francis Hospital.

Other symptoms to be on the lookout for include rapid heartbeat, swelling of the lips, hives, cramps, or vomiting.

The Mayo Clinic advises taking these actions immediately while waiting for medical help:

  • Ask the person if he or she is carrying an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, others) to treat an allergic attack.
  • If the person says he or she needs to use an autoinjector, ask whether you should help inject the medication. This is usually done by pressing the autoinjector against the person’s thigh and holding it in place for several seconds.
  • Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don’t give him or her anything to drink.
  • If the person is vomiting, position him or her to prevent choking.
  • Begin CPR if the person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement.

While at the family cookout or enjoying a fireworks show, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered bug repellents.

The American Academy of Dermatology advises applying sunscreen first, letting it dry, and applying bug spray on top.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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