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Insect/spider bites

Friday, March 07, 2008

Understanding Insect Bites and Spider Bites -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments?

For insect bites that aren't serious, the goal of treatment is simply to relieve discomfort. In the rare cases of bites that cause a severe reaction, it is essential to get medical help immediately.

The discomfort of many insect bites can be soothed by an ice cube, a cold washcloth, calamine lotion, a paste of baking soda, or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment.

If you think you've been bitten by a black widow spider, seek medical help. A doctor may prescribe cold compresses, calcium gluconate for muscle pain, and an anti-anxiety drug for spasms. A spreading wound from a brown recluse spider bite should be surgically cleaned and repaired. Do not apply ice. For any spider bite, be sure your tetanus immunization is current.

If you find a tick embedded in your skin, remove it carefully without crushing it. Grip it near the head with tweezers or gloved fingers and pull gently and steadily. Watch for a rash, which may indicate Lyme, tularemia, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or other disease, at the site of the bite.

For a scorpion sting, seek medical help if symptoms are severe. You may receive antivenin to neutralize the poison, or calcium gluconate or phenobarbital to relieve muscle spasms.

Some relief for the itchy pustules caused by fire ants is provided by anti-itch cream.

For mosquito or other minor bites, apply calamine lotion.

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