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Bites and stings can be serious

May 12, 2015
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Although insects are around all year, their presence is more apparent in the hot, sticky summer months. People, including seniors in long-term care facilities, enjoy picnics, attend outdoor musicales or simply just relax in the sunshine.

Suddenly, there’s a buzz or a pinch, which means an insect has had its lunch. Most bites and stings are harmless and can be treated at home. “Sometimes, however, a bug bite or sting could turn into something serious, particularly if you have been bitten or stung by many insects at the same time,” says board-certified dermatologist Margaret E. Parsons, MD, FAAD, in a release. Some people are allergic to insect venom and need immediate attention after a bite.

Watch out for symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • A sensation that the throat is closing
  • Swollen lips, tongue or face
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Racing heartbeat for more than a minute
  • Rashes

Common sense precautions also can minimize risk. Wear light, loose-fitting clothing or stay indoors at dawn and dusk. While insect repellants are on the market, avoid those that contain harsh chemicals such as DEET. Natural insect repellants include cinnamon leaf oil, citronella soap and catnip oil, according to Mercola.com, a natural health website.

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