Braving the Great Outdoors
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) reports that every year, thousands of people visit hospital emergency rooms or urgent care clinics seeking care for insect stings. These incidences naturally rise during the warmer months as participation in outdoor activities increases. So, protect children playing in the backyard or park, and dress appropriately on camping, fishing or hiking excursions.
Fire ants didn’t earn their name just because they’re fiery red ants. No, their claim to fame is the hot pain that accompanies a sting. And that’s not all. Fire ants work as a team. When their mound is disturbed by your innocent foot, the ants quickly charge from the ground. They engulf the guilty shoe, weaving through laces and gaps to reach your sock. Once they find skin, they commence stinging. It’s also important to note that fire ants don’t appreciate resistance. They tend to attack with a vengeance as you hop angrily on one foot and swat them off the other.
Pain and redness immediately appear from fire ant stings; followed by swelling, and definitely itching. A less common potentially life-threatening side effect, anaphylaxis, impairs breathing and can cause the body to go into shock. If you already know you have an insect allergy, you should inject epinephrine (adrenaline). Otherwise, quickly seek treatment at an urgent care facility. You might also find comfort from antihistamines and corticosteroids for a few days.
If you’re planning to hike through the woods, or fish by the side of a lake, dress appropriately to avoid ticks. Tuck your pants into your socks, keep your arms covered and wear light-colored clothing so you can easily see one on you. Ticks are small arachnids found in tall grass, shrubs, lawns and gardens. They are external parasites that live off of blood and should be removed carefully with tweezers as soon as possible. Side effects to tick-borne infections include fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.
Deer ticks transmit a bacterium that can cause Lyme disease. Most cases can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. However, if Lyme disease is not treated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported there were 25,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States.
If the ticks and fire ants don’t keep you inside this summer, hopefully the mosquitos won’t either. Take precaution and keep your arms and legs covered. The CDC and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recommend using EPA-registered insect repellents to protect against diseases spread by mosquitoes.
When mosquitos bite, they leave a puffy, red and white bump that eventually hardens and itches.
The Mayo Clinic reports more severe reactions to mosquito bites occur in children or adults who had never been exposed to a certain type of mosquito. Side effects could include low-grade fever, hives and swollen lymph nodes.
(ACAAI) reports that people who have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting have a 60% chance of a similar or worse reaction if stung again. So, be prepared when you step outside – dress appropriately and apply an effective insect repellant. If you or someone else has a reaction, seek medical attention at your local Premier Urgent Care facility. Their professional staff can evaluate and treat your condition seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 9:00am to 9:00pm.