Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Other Types of Envenomation Injuries

            In a prior post we examined the envenomation injury most of us fear most.......snakebite.
Should you need to refer to this post, it can be found at:


The same "Extractor" from the prior post, which can be so helpful in snakebites, can also be invaluable for insect and arachnid bites, whenever gentle and steady venom extraction would be helpful. Again, the larger amount of venom you can extract from your patient, without creating furthur injury, the better off your patient will be.

              Wasp, hornet and beestings are common injuries, but can occasionally be very dangerous particularly to those who are sensitive to the venom of these insects.  Anyone who is known to be beesting or insect sting allergic, needs to have their primary physician or allergist issue them a prescription for an Epi-Pen or Epi-Pen Jr.   An Epi-Pen is an automatic injector of epinephrine which can save a life of a person who is allergic to certain stings.  Even a child can use one.   Sometimes an allergist will dispense an epinephrine vial and tuberculin syringe for emergency epinephrine treatment for some families or individuals.

            It IS possible for anyone, even those who were never allergic to a certain sting before to develop an anaphylactic reaction to one if stung at a future time.

This information comes from:    http://www.medicinenet.com/insect_sting_allergies/article.htm

Systemic (or body-wide) reactions are allergic responses and occur in people who have developed antibodies against the insect venom from a prior exposure. It is estimated that between 0.3%-3% of stings trigger a systemic allergic reaction. The allergic reaction to an insect sting varies from person to person. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include itching, hives, flushing of the skin, tingling or itching inside the mouth, and nausea or vomiting. The most serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Difficulty breathing, swallowing, hoarseness, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, and fainting are signs of a severe allergic reaction. These types of reactions usually occur within minutes of the sting but have been known to be delayed for up to 24 hours. Prompt treatment is essential, and emergency help is often needed.

Although you must treat wasp, hornet or beestings, if there is difficulty breathing or signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction as outlined above, by either immediately epinephrine injection, and then transport to a hospital, most stings are painful annoyances and can be treated at home.

          Following a beesting, wasp or hornet sting, the possibility exists that a stinger will remain in the wound. Remove it least traumatically, as soon as possible by using a credit card to snag it, and pull it out and away from the wound.        People with milder reactions can apply baking soda as a paste initially, and take a diphenhydramine capsule,  tradename Benadryl, (as per package direction for age and weight, and please use the liquid or chewables for a child, with the correct dose for weight as stated on the specific box you are using.)
          I don't usually need to take a Benadryl, and I usually keep and apply a Diphenhydramine clear liquid, with a cotton ball, after initially using a baking soda paste, and a number of times that first day I repeat the Benadryl liquid via cottonball to help to limit swelling and redness and to promote comfort.

          Although they do not normally, any wasp, hornet or beesting can become infected.  If this appears to have happened, please see your doctor.     Signs of an infected sting site would be painful redness, a yellow purulent head,  fever or even red lines traveling toward the heart from the initial sting itself.  Pay close attention to each wasp, hornet or beesting because we never know when a person who was never allergic in the past, may become allergic to the sting, for the first time.

American dog tick  (Photo: hyg.ipm.illinois.edu )

Ticks and tick bite treatment and concerns are covered in our  prior posts :




The brown recluse spider  (Photo: brown-recluse.com )

Information with detail on spider bites as envenomation injuries are found at:




 Photo: http://www.prlog.org )

Mosquito bites:

        Mosquito bites are not simply an annoyance, or even just a source of secondary infection following itching afterward.  They too can be a hazard.    Malaria, West Nile Virus , Dengue Fever and likely other illnesses can be contracted through mosquito bites.   Experts tell us that HIV-AIDS cannot be contracted through mosquitoes.

This flash presentation discusses why HIV-AIDS  transmission through mosquitoes is highly unlikely if not nearly impossible.


       However, we should do all we can to avoid mosquito bites to avoid contracting any number of other diseases.  The first thing we should do is avoid standing water on our properties, by emptying any containers we can. We can use integrated pest management or chemical means to decrease the possibility of mosquitoes breeding on our properties.  We can also use mosquito repellants when needed.  We can use mosquito netting especially when sleeping in the great outdoors. 
         If we know we are bitten by a mosquito, we can also use the extractor, but the problem often becomes not knowing that we were bitten until some time later when we have the obvious bite.  Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) gel with a cotton call applied multiple times daily in the acute phase of mosquito bites can promote comfort and help to prevent scratching.  Also, the use of your favorite antiseptic is a good idea, as infection is always a potential, if not a likelihood here.

         If you were to develop a high fever or a severe headache within 12 hours or more following a mosquito bite, you need to see a physician.



        Try to stay safe out there !


Gorges Smythe said...

I've read (whether true or false) that the reason our allergies change is that each cell in our body is replaced over the course of seven years. Since the cells we have today as adults are several generations removed from our original cells, variations between the old and new cells can create new or destroy old allergies.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes Gorges, allergists/immunologists tell us that this is true. We could be allergic to chocolate as tots, and then be completely tolerant of it as teens. We can also tolerate beestings several times as children and then have a life threatening anaphylactic reaction as young adults. It can be hard to know how we are going to change immunologically, and when those seven years periods begin or end. This si why allergists periodically retest their patients for allergies. Allergy shots can also furthur modify our reactions. When I was a child, every neighborhood child who came to a local bonfire, was horribly afflicted by poison ivy one year. A couple of my friends were actually hospitalized because burning actually heightened their exposure. I was completely poison ivy free despite identical exposure. The same was true all of my life. It wasn't until last year when I was relocating some heirloom daffodils from one of the old homesites on our farm, by an old chimney, to a spot where they would get more sun, that I developed a terrible case of poison ivy on my hands and arms. Apparently, poison ivy was interspersed with the roots of the daffodil, and I am no longer resistant to it. Now, I am very careful.

LL Cool Joe said...

I found it in the last few years I'm allergic to apples! Weird. In fact I think it my be the apple skin. I can eat them cooked but the last time I had a slice of apple in a drink my lips and throat became very swollen and was finding it hard to breath. I'd never had an issue before.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, unfortunately our allergies following injection through envenomation or INGESTION THROUGH EATING change throughout our lives. I have never been allergic to chocolate before, but lately it seems to give me itchy skin. All our lives our allergies may shift. Joe, could you be allergic to something with which they treat the apple skin ? I do know that some people can tolerate ketchup because it is processed, but cannot eat tomatoes themselves without an allergic reaction.