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First Aid Overview

First Aid for Bites or Stings

A bee sting generally causes local pain, irritation, and swelling. In a susceptible victim, however, a bee sting can lead to a serious allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, within minutes.

Symptoms of Allergic Reaction: Swollen lips, tongue, or ears; uneasiness or agitation; red face; hives; prickling and itching throat and skin; throbbing or ring­ing in ears; sneezing; coughing; breathing difficulty; nausea or vom­iting; dizziness; loss of bladder or bowel control; convulsions; weak, rapid pulse; cold, clammy, pale skin; unresponsiveness. If vic­tim shows any of these symptoms, call for EMS, and see allergic reaction.

Treatment for Sting Without Allergic Reaction:
  1. Carefully remove stinger by flicking it with your thumb and forefinger or scraping it out with the edge of a credit card. DO NOT squeeze stinger.

  2. Wash area gently with soap and water.

  3. Apply ice pack wrapped in clean cloth to area of sting.

  4. Place stung area lower than level of heart to slow spread of venom.
Bites -- Animal or Human

Any bite that penetrates skin can introduce infectious organisms into the victim's bloodstream.

Bleeding, teeth marks or torn skin, redness, swelling, pain

Emergency Treatment
  1. Call for EMS or transport victim to emergency room.

    Until medical assistance is available:

  2. If bleeding is severe, see bleeding,external. Otherwise you can allow punctures to bleed to help remove bacteria.

  3. Wash puncture wound with soap and water, and rinse for 10 min­utes. DO NOT clean a severely bleeding wound.

  4. Apply sterile dressing or clean cloth, and secure with bandage.

  5. If bite is from an unknown ani­mal, call animal control or police, so animal can be caught and examined for rabies. DO NOT attempt to catch animal yourself.

  6. Observe for shock (see shock).
To learn more about first aid and emergency care, see:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.