Bites and stings

Bites and stingsA bite would be something that’s done by an animal and a sting typically would be something done by an insect. Now, if we’re dealing with a bite, there can be all sorts of different injuries. The main one will be bleeding. There could be rough tears, there could be incisions into the skin by, of course, by the teeth. There could be bruising. There could even be broken bones or any other soft tissue damage. The first thing we need to do is make sure the scene is safe, so make sure if there is a dog that’s caused this, that it’s away and it’s not going to cause you or them any further harm. We then need to treat the serious bleeding so have a look at the wound. You may need to wash it just to get rid of any dirt on there. You also need to clean it and ensure that we stop the bleeding. Exactly the same concept that was covered in the Serious Bleeding modules. Pop the dressing on and get the person to help, if needed.

With stings, they’re slightly different because, with a sting, an insect has actually injected into the skin and it’ll be a toxin of some description which is causing a reaction. With something like a bee sting, we can remove that quite easily by using a credit card or business card, something like that, to scraping it along the base of the skin so that we pull the bee sting out from the bottom. What you don’t want to do with a sting is actually squeeze the top of it because that will inject the poison in even more. Things like wasp stings or stings from mosquitoes and other insects, they will just be injected and then you can’t do any more harm. With those, you may well find that there are some creams and ointments you can put on to help reduce the pain, but usually, they will get better quicker. The important thing with anything to do with stings is has the person got an allergic reaction to it? If it’s, for example, a bee sting and they’re allergic to bees, then you’re going to have a lot more problems. If you notice any problems with the respiratory side, having difficulty breathing, they’re feeling unwell, then this may indicate that you need to contact emergency services urgently. Talk to the patient. See if they have a history of allergies or any problems and just make a judgement call yourself. Generally speaking, if you get stung by a bee or an insect on your hand, your throat shouldn’t swell up. That would indicate an anaphylactic reaction.