Cunningham Family's Adventures Thru the USA

Insects

Step 4: Know Parasite Sources

In order to avoid infestation, it is important to understand how parasites operate, and then take the necessary steps to avoid becoming an unwilling host.

How Are Parasites Transmitted? Let Me Count the Ways…

It’s a parasite’s job to infest, and they have designed a variety of clever ways to invade their hosts – i.e. you.

Just like some air-borne viruses, bacteria, and fungi can infect human beings if accidentally inhaled, so can parasites/eggs that are being carried on the wind along with other dust particles. Yes, you can inhale parasites into your lungs.

In North America, Histoplasmosis, Valley fever, and Hanta virus are examples of parasitic diseases associated with bat dung (used in some fertilizers), dust, and rodent feces.

Parasitic worms are readily transmitted from pets and other animals such as beef and swine tapeworms. Cat litter boxes may pose a threat of toxoplasmosis; the Toxoplasma gondii parasite is found in cat feces. Dogs carry Echinococcus, an intestinal tapeworm the eggs of which spread over a dog’s fur via its anus. Unhealthy human contact with infected dogs, such as kissing, transports the eggs into the human intestine from where they can make their way to a host’s brain and liver. Birds and even Fish have parasites that can and do infect humans, as well.

Bloodsucking insects (mosquitoes, flies, fleas, etc.) can transmit parasites through bites as they endeavor to feed on human blood. Insect-borne pathogens are not normally a danger to their natural hosts – a rodent for example – but can become extremely harmful in unnatural hosts such as human beings.

Protozoa – such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia – are transmitted through drinking water that has been contaminated with fecal material from infected persons. They can be found in both running streams and the tap water in many large North American cities served by surface water treatment plants. Even the chlorinated water that comes from the faucet can harbor certain parasites and outbreaks of illness do occur. Schistosomes such as the deadly Trematoda fluke, however, can only be transmitted through skin contact with contaminated water.

One of the most common ways of contracting a parasitic infection is through food intake; including beef, pork, poultry, fish, and even fresh vegetables and fruits. Unless properly washed, vegetables grown on farms fertilized with infected human waste can transmit the eggs of various parasites. When swallowed with contaminated food, parasites can be infective. This can easily occur in household settings, or in restaurants where health inspections at even the most expensive world-class restaurants reveal that employees harbor fecal matter under their nails.

Some parasites – the roundworm nematode, for example – spend their immature egg stage in warm, moist soil, just waiting for a new host to invade. Walking bare-footed or sitting on fecally-contaminated soil can be an invitation to the eggs of hookworms or strongyloides, who penetrate the exposed skin and migrate through the human body to the intestinal tract. Some types of worms are reported to be able to jump from the ground to your ankles and bore into your skin. Other parasites live in wet grass, mud puddles, or in standing water.

Return to Parasites


Step 3: Reverse Vitamin Deficiency

Parasites and Vitamin deficiency go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Not only can having parasites lead to a deficiency, if you’re already vitamin-deficient, you will be vulnerable to a host of health problems including parasitic infestation.

Parasites feed off human blood, extracting vital nutrients. And not only do they burrow in our intestinal walls, some parasites cause diarrhea, making it difficult for our bodies to absorb nutrients.

It is a well-documented fact that parasites cause specific vitamin deficiencies.

Diphyllobothrium latum for example – commonly referred to as fish or broad tapeworm – can deplete your body of half its vitamin B12, an essential resource for the proper functioning of your central nervous system, muscle coordination, and memory.

Unfortunately, many of us are already vitamin deficient due to our Standard American Diet of processed, fake, and junk foods. Add to this the fact that modern food refining destroys much of the goodness in the foods we eat, and you’ve set yourself up for a potentially vicious cycle of infestation, deficiency, and re-infestation.

At some point in their lives, everyone on the planet will require extra vitamins and minerals to compensate for deficiencies; if you’ve got parasites, the time to incorporate a multi-vitamin into your daily regimen is now!

Advanced vitamin supplementation is the foundation of good health, and can work to help prevent parasitic infestations.

With a strong multi-vitamin in your corner, your body will be able to recuperate from a parasitic attack, and build up its immune system to prevent future infestations.

Return to Parasites


Step 1: Herbal Colon Cleansing

One of the most effective ways to begin ridding yourself of parasites is with a detoxification of your entire body, starting with your colon.

Colonic irrigation and herbal cleansing can help to remove parasites, mucus, and toxins that have built up in your colon.

Everyone has parasites.

They love life in the human colon because they thrive on human waste. So why not use common sense wisdom and clean up our colons regularly with colon cleanses?

By flushing out waste, passing stool is easier, transit times are improved, the unlucky parasites will have less time to take their foothold, and there will be nothing left for them to feed on.

This means your body will become an inhospitable host, reducing the likelihood of further parasitic infestation.

Numerous societies around the globe use natural alternative medicines derived mainly from plants for treatment of common ailments. Herbs have been used for thousands of years because of their proven track record for successfully purging parasites from the body. They help to increase the wave-like motion in the colon that propels waste along, while at the same time toning colon muscles.

Many herbs are more effective, and easier on the system, when used in conjunction with other herbs. A cleansing program that combines a variety of herbs in order to purge parasites from the body is preferable.

Puristat’s colon cleanse is composed of 23 herbal ingredients including cascara sagrada, buckthorn bark, ginger root, cayenne pepper, psyllium husk, fennel seed, and rhubarb root – all highly effective for expelling parasites and their eggs.

These herbs also have analgesic properties that can help relieve the inflammation, constipation, nausea, abdominal cramping, bloating, flatulence, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach ache that often accompany an infestation.

Removing impurities also goes a long way toward helping your body absorb nutrients, enhancing energy levels, and increasing regularity…all necessary aspects of getting back on track after a parasitic infestation.

After cleansing your colon, it’s important to restore certain bacteria to prevent unhealthy bacteria from inhabiting the area. Probiotics are the good bacteria your system needs in order to restore its healthy flora.

It’s recommended you begin a cleanse with considerably less than the suggested dosage if you’re elderly. For example, one half to one tablet the first day, increasing daily until you regularly produce one to three bowel movements per day.

Return to Parasites


Parasites

Parasites range from the stuff of late night horror shows – measuring in at several feet long – to those that are invisible to the naked eye and while they are fond of the colon, this is not the only place parasites can be found. Just about any part of our body is vulnerable to infestation: the lungs, liver, esophagus, brain, blood, muscles, joints, skin…and even our eyes!

In fact, almost everyone has parasites. It’s simply a fact of life.

Even Dr. Oz says…”90% of humans will have a problem with parasites at some point during their lifetime.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies parasites as among the 6 most dangerous diseases that infect humans.

Parasites even outrank cancer as the number one global killer, and account for many of the digestive woes from which people suffer. In the United States alone, one-third of nearly six thousand fecal specimens tested, came back positive for at least nineteen species of intestinal parasites.

Creepy.

So how do you know if you are infected?

Sometimes you can be infected without having any symptoms; however, there are often signs, including:

  • Allergies to many different types of foods
  • Anemia (low red blood count)
  • Bloating/abdominal swelling
  • Bloody stools
  • Bouts of diarrhea and inconsistent bowel habits
  • Dysentery (loose stools containing blood and mucus)
  • Feeling tired or Run down
  • Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and fever
  • Foul-smelling stools that get worse in the afternoon and evening
  • Gas and cramping
  • Itching around the anus, especially at night.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss with a ravenous appetite

Accepting the fact that parasites are nearly unavoidable, as well as recognizing the kinds of environments parasites enjoy and how they are transmitted, is the key to ridding yourself of them, and preventing further infestations.

First, it’s important to flush out your gastrointestinal (GI) system; a clean, hydrated, and toned colon goes a long way toward discouraging parasites to make their home in your intestines.

Coping with parasites is best handled with a multi-pronged approach, which includes…

Step 1: Herbal Colon Cleansing
Step 2: Increase Your Fiber Intake
Step 3: Reverse Vitamin Deficiency
Step 4: Know Sources – Preventing Re-infestation

Treatment Options:

Conventional medical treatments can get rid parasites more quickly. Alternative treatments may be helpful along with conventional medications. However, your health care provider must find out what kind of organism is causing your problems before you start treatments. They will choose the drug that is most effective against your intestinal parasite. You may need one dose, or you may have to take the medication for several weeks. Be careful to take the medicine exactly as it is prescribed, or it may not work.

Pinworms: are found only in humans and account for the largest percentage of intestinal worm infections in the U.SGetting rid of pinworm isn’t easy, but it can be done. To get rid of pinworms, you should wash your hands regularly to avoid ingesting pinworm eggs. If pinworm infection is detected by your doctor, or noticed in the stool, you should seek an over-the-counter treatment like Reese’s Pinworm Medicine or get a prescription from your doctor for Vermox, the most common prescription given for pinworm infections.

Roundworms: are large worms about as thick as a spaghetti noodle and roughly 4-13 inches long at maturity. Roundworm is an intestinal worm found in both dogs and cats. The life cycle is complicated, and in order to get rid of roundworm completely, one must interrupt this life cycle. Usually this is done with three to four treatments of a pyrantel pamoate based medicine over a month long period. It is repeated once every week to ensure that both mature and migrating adolescent roundworms are destroyed.

Hookworms: are yet another worm that is most commonly found in pets in the U.S., but account for almost 800 million intestinal worm infections in the human population worldwide. To get rid of hookworms, mebendazole or albendazole are used the most often and require a prescription by a doctor to obtain. Hookworm medication in humans is usually taken twice a day for three days. In dogs and cats, hookworm anthelmintic is taken once every week for 2-3 weeks to ensure that the hookworm life cycle is disrupted.

Tapeworms: are found in both humans and animals, it is rare for humans to get tapeworm. A tapeworm problem is synonymous with a flea problem, since ingestion of the tapeworm eggs by fleas and then ingestion of the fleas is required to become infected. To get rid of tapeworms, you must get rid of fleas. Usually treatment for both fleas and tapeworms are administered together. The tapeworm infested individual (be they human or pet) is given a dewormer, and their environment is treated with either Nylar or Methoprene tocontrol fleas.

Ringworm: isn’t actually a worm at all. Ringworm is caused by a fungus and is given its name because of the ring-shaped rash it causes when a person is infected. Ringworm is similar toathlete’s foot with regard to the family of fungus that causes it. To get rid of ringworm, many people suggest dabbing bleach on the skin and then wiping it clean to ensure you don’t give yourself a chemical burn. Essentially, an astringent or topical antiseptic like those used to treat athletes foot may also be used to treat ringworms. Antifungal medications and topical treatments are similarly used to treat pets, but spores may persist and cause recurring infections.

And Finally,

Remember these simple things can help:

  • Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as those found in refined foods, fruits, juices, dairy products, and all sugars, except honey.
  • Drink a lot of water to help flush out your system.
  • Eat More RAW: Garlic, Pumpkin seeds, Pomegranates, Beets, and Carrots, all of which have been used traditionally to kill parasites. In one study, researchers found that a mixture of honey and papaya seeds cleared stools of parasites in 23 out of 30 subjects.
  • Eat more fiber, which help get rid of worms.
  • Probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacilus plantarum, Saccharomyces boulardii, and bifidobacteria, one to two times per day between meals) help keep your digestive tract healthy. Digestive enzymes will help restore your intestinal tract to its normal state, which makes it inhospitable to parasites. Papain is an enzyme from the papaya plant that may help kill worms when taken 30 minutes before or after meals.
  • Vitamin C (250 – 500 mg two times a day) or, if well-tolerated, much higher doses of up to 6,000 mg per day in otherwise healthy adults — supports the immune system. Lower vitamin C dose if diarrhea develops.
  • Zinc (20 – 30 mg per day) — also helps support the immune system.
  • Regular colon cleansings are a must since most water sources are located near human habitation, and are therefore likely infested with parasites. 
  • Supplement your diet with a high-grade multi-vitamin to ensure adequate vitamin, mineral, and nutrient intake, and to combat the resulting deficiency from parasitic infestation. 
  • Show caution when drinking and/or swimming in unfamiliar water sources. 
  • Wear protective clothing when exposed to bloodsucking insects. 
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables in clean water before eating to prevent roundworm and whipworm infection. Add a few ounces of over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide and/or mild soap to increase the parasite-killing activity of water. 
  • Wear shoes or slippers to prevent hookworm infection. 
  • Do not use water from septic tanks or other potentially contaminated sources for watering vegetables. 
  • Contain all waste matter in an outdoor toilet or latrine rather than going as nature intended outdoors. 
  • Children are particularly susceptible to parasites, and often harbor the largest number of worms. Teach them proper hygiene, such as hand washing (including using a nail brush) after going to the toilet, playing outside, or before preparing or eating food.
  • Properly wash bed sheets, towels and clothes with disinfectants.
  • Do Not let your child to play in sands and soils.

Natural Treatment of Worms in Children:

Garlic: 

Add cloves to as many of your meals as you can. These will not kill the worms themselves but will kill the eggs, which can help keep your problem under control.

Tomatoes:

Eat tomatoes in the morning on an empty stomach to clear worms from your intestines.

Carrots:

Before normal breakfast, give one cup of grated carrot to your child early in the morning. This treatment works well for removal of threadworms. Continue with this treatment for 4 to 5 days.

Wormwood Oil Treatment:

Mix 2 milliliters of wormwood oil with 4 oz of water. Take a small child-sized bulb syringe and fill it with this solution and rinse out the rectal area. The solution will kill the worms.

Fruit Fast:

It is very difficult to change the diets of children completely for an extended period of time. Provide large amount of pineapples, cranberries and papaya to your child for a period of 3 to 4 days. Pineapples, cranberries and papayas are known to kill tapeworms in the body.

Papaya Juice:

Mix well one teaspoon of papaya juice and one teaspoon of honey. Provide this mixture to the child for drinking purpose. You can also give mixture of papaya juice and honey with a glass of the following. Combine 8-oz glass of warm milk and 1 teaspoon of Castor oil. Make sure that your child has consumed whole glass. This treatment is extremely effective to get rid of roundworms.

Pumpkin Seed:

Before giving the pumpkin seed treatment, provide prune juice to your child to cleanse his body as it expel any matter from the child’s intestine. Properly crush 1 tablespoon of skinned pumpkin seeds and mix it in 1 cup of boiling water. Cool this mixture and give it to child for drinking. Provide 3 to 4 cupfuls of this mixture to the child in a day. Eating pumpkin seeds throughout the day helps to get rid of a wide variety of parasites.

Other treatments:

  • In cotton gauze, wrap a clove and garlic and insert it into the anus of child.
  • Mix well senna and cayenne powder with 2 tablespoon of plain yogurt and give this mixture to your child. To improve the taste, you can add cinnamon in small quantities.
  • To repopulate the intestine with healthy protective bacteria, provide your child an acidophilus tablet every day for a month.
  • Crush the lemon seeds and mix them well with honey and have your child consume the mixture. Give this mixture every day to your child for five days.

Natural Treatment of Worms in Adults:

Artemisia:

Both mugwort and wormwood are used as anthelmintic remedies in European and Chinese herbalism. Their aromatic oils and bitter principles are effective against a broad-spectrum of species of intestinal worms. They are among the most versatile of the natural vermifuges. They are extremely bitter, making them unpalatable for children and many adults unless taken in capsule form.

Black Walnuts:

Tincture made from the aromatic fresh, green hulls of the black walnut is perhaps the best-known of anti-parasitic remedies. They become richer in elemental iodine as they age, losing much of their potency and staining all they touch a dark color. The vermifugal properties of the hulls are due to the combination of both the natural iodine and aromatic oils. Although more economical, the dried, encapsulated herb is not as effective as the tincture.

Pumpkin Seeds:

Although artemisia species and black walnut hulls are effective against most intestinal worm species, tapeworms can often prove resistant. If a tapeworm infestation cannot be eliminated with other other remedies, it may be possible to remove them with pumpkin seeds. Like mugwort and wormwood, pumpkin seeds have a long history of use as anti-parasitic herb in Chinese medicine. They are still one of the gentlest and most effective of natural treatments.

Cloves

Cloves are ineffective in expelling mature intestinal worms. They are, however, the only natural remedy for killing the eggs of intestinal worms. Since many parasites will not hatch when there are poisons in the intestinal environment, it can be difficult to get rid of them with a single cycle of the remedies above; at least two cycles of treatment are usually required. The co-administration of cloves with either artemisia or black walnut, however, can often eliminate the need for multiple courses of treatment.

Warning:

Do not try to rid yourself of any type of parasitic worm without your doctor’s input. All worms are not the same, and infections exist at different levels of severity.


Free Children’s Education

One of my Favorite site’s and my most used (at this point) is called Schoolexpress.comBetween the free worksheets, free weekly Units (if you sign up for their weekly news letter), to the ability to create your own Worksheets, this is a Great Site.

 A great site for Math is homeschoolmath.net. I like to use this site for the Pre-made Worksheets (which are grade appropriate). But I also love the great Teaching advice they provide in their weekly news letters.

and one must not forget to mention Dad’s Worksheets.com where you will find over 7,400 free worksheets.

Another awesome site that we have come across is Funbrain.com. Here children can play educational games aimed mostly toward Math and Reading.

My kids & I love Science.

And what’s Not to Love?

Anatomy, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science

We Love it all.


Biology

Photo


Fun Facts about Alaska

State Flag

Origin of Name: from the Aleut work Alyeska, meaning The Great Land.

  • State Abbreviation – AK
  • State Capital – Juneau
  • Statehood – January 3, 1959
  • Number of Counties – 27
  • State Flower – Forget Me Not
  • State Tree – Sitka Spruce
  • State Bird – Willow Ptarmigan
  • State Insect – The Four Spot Skimmer Dragonfly
  • State Mammal –  Moose
  • State Marine Mammal – Bowhead Whale
  • State Nickname – The Last Frontier, Land of the Midnight Sun
  • State Area Code – 907
  • State Sport – Dog Mushing
  • State Motto – North to the Future
  • State Gem – Jade
  • State Mineral – Gold
  • State Fossil – Wooly Mammoth
  • National Forests – 2
  • State Parks – 100+

Fun Facts about Alabama


State Flag

Origin of Name: from Choctaw meaning “thicket-clearers” or “vegetation-gatherers”

  • State Abbreviation – AL
  • State Nickname – Yellowhammer State, Cotton State, Heart of Dixie
  • State Capital – Montgomery
  • Statehood – December 14, 1819
  • Number of Counties – 67
  • State Flower – Camellia
  • State Wildflower – Oak-leaf Hydrangea
  • State Tree – Southern Longleaf Pine
  • State Game Bird – Wild Turkey
  • State Freshwater Fish – Largemouth Bass
  • State Saltwater Fish – Tarpon
  • State Amphibian – Red Hills Salamander
  • State Reptile – Alabama Red-bellied Turtle
  • State Insect – Monarch Butterfly
  • Area Codes – 205, 251, 256, 334
  • State Motto – Audemus jura nostra defendere (We dare defend our rights)
  • State Nut – Pecan
  • State Gemstone – Star Blue Quartz
  • State Rock – Marble
  • State Forests – 21
  • State Parks – 22

Learn Other Tricks

  • Coca-Cola cure for rust… Forget those expensive rust removers. Just saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca Cola and scrub the rust stain. The phosphoric acid in the coke is what gets the job done.
  • Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer … If menacing bees, wasps,  hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can’t find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Tick bites

Some ticks transmit bacteria that cause illnesses such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Your risk of contracting one of these diseases depends on what part of the United States you live in, how much time you spend in wooded areas and how well you protect yourself.

If you’ve received a tick bite:

  • Remove the tick promptly and carefully. Use tweezers to grasp the tick near its head or mouth and pull gently to remove the whole tick without crushing it.
  • If possible, seal the tick in a jar. Your doctor may want to see the tick if you develop signs or symptoms of illness after a tick bite.
  • Use soap and water to wash your hands and the area around the tick bite after handling the tick.
  • Call your doctor if you aren’t able to completely remove the tick.

See your doctor if you develop:

  • A rash
  • A bull’s eye
  • A fever
  • A stiff neck
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Flu-like symptoms

If possible, bring the tick with you to your doctor’s appointment.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you develop:

  • A severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Chest pain or heart palpitations

Scorpion stings

Scorpion stings — although painful — are mostly harmless.

As many as 1,500 species of scorpions have been described worldwide, but only about 30 of these are considered dangerous. In the United States, only the bark scorpion, found mainly in the desert Southwest, has venom potent enough to cause severe symptoms.

Elsewhere, lethal scorpion stings occur predominantly in Mexico, South America, parts of Africa, the Middle East and India.

Scorpion stings are most serious in young children, older adults and pets. In the United States, healthy adults usually don’t need treatment for scorpion stings, but if your child is stung, always get immediate medical care.

And of course, the smaller the scorpion is the more venom it carries.

Most scorpion stings in the United States cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as pain and warmth at the sting site. The venom of the bark scorpion, which is native to Arizona, New Mexico and the California side of the Colorado River, is more toxic and can be life-threatening, particularly in children.

Children who have been stung by a bark scorpion might experience:

  • Pain, which can be intense, numbness and tingling in the area around the sting, but little or no swelling
  • Muscle twitching or thrashing
  • Unusual head, neck and eye movements
  • Drooling
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness or excitability and sometimes inconsolable crying

Adults are more likely to experience:

  • Rapid breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle twitching
  • Weakness

When to see a doctor 

It’s always best to be safe. If you or your child is stung, follow these guidelines:

  • Get immediate medical care for any child stung by a scorpion.
  • If you’ve been stung, get prompt care if you begin to experience widespread symptoms.
  • If you’re concerned about a scorpion sting — even if your reaction is minor — call your local poison control center for advice.
  • Seek medical attention right away if you or your child is stung while traveling in another country.

Spider bites

Only a few spiders are dangerous to humans. Two that are present in the contiguous United States and more common in the Southern states are the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. Both prefer warm climates and dark, dry places where flies are plentiful. They often live in dry, littered, undisturbed areas, such as closets, woodpiles and under sinks.

Most presumed spider bites are actually bites from other bugs. If you suspect you have been bitten by one of these spiders, check to see if the spider lives in your area.

Black widow spider

Although serious, a black widow bite is rarely lethal. You can identify this spider by the red hourglass marking on its belly. The bite feels like a pinprick. You may not even know you’ve been bitten. At first you may notice slight swelling and faint red marks. Within a few hours, though, intense pain and stiffness begin. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain

Brown recluse spider

You can identify this spider by the violin-shaped marking on its back. The bite produces a mild stinging, followed by local redness and intense pain within eight hours. A fluid-filled blister forms at the site and then sloughs off to leave a deep, enlarging ulcer. Reactions from a brown recluse spider bite vary from a mild fever and rash to nausea and listlessness. On rare occasions death results, more often in children.

If bitten by a spider

Try and identify the type of spider that bit you. Clean the site of the spider bite well with soap and water. Apply a cool compress over the spider bite location. If the bite is on an extremity, elevate it. Aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and antihistamines may be used to relieve minor signs and symptoms in adults. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 2, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

If bitten by a brown recluse or black widow spider

  1. Cleanse the wound. Use soap and water to clean the wound and skin around the spider bite.
  2. Slow the venom’s spread. If the spider bite is on an arm or a leg, tie a snug bandage above the bite and elevate the limb to help slow or halt the venom’s spread. Ensure that the bandage is not so tight that it cuts off circulation in your arm or leg.
  3. Use a cold cloth at the spider bite location. Apply a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice.
  4. Seek immediate medical attention. Treatment for the bite of a black widow may require an anti-venom medication. Doctors may treat a brown recluse spider bite with various medications.

Insect bites and stings

Most reactions to insect bites are mild, causing little more than an annoying itching or stinging sensation and mild swelling that disappears within a day or so.

Signs and symptoms of an insect bite result from the injection of venom or other substances into your skin. The venom sometimes triggers an allergic reaction. The severity of your reaction depends on your sensitivity to the insect venom or substance and whether you’ve been stung or bitten more than once.

A delayed reaction may cause fever, hives, painful joints and swollen glands. You might experience both the immediate and the delayed reactions from the same insect bite or sting. Only a small percentage of people develop severe reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect venom.

Signs and symptoms of a severe reaction include:

  • Nausea
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Deterioration of blood pressure and circulation (shock)

Bites from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants are typically the most troublesome. (In our Family, Lilie has a allergy to yellow jackets and Little Bill has a severe allergy to Fire Ants.)

Bites from mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies and some spiders also can cause reactions, but these are generally milder. Although, some of these insects also carry disease such as West Nile virus or Lyme disease.

For mild reactions

  • Move to a safe area to avoid more stings.
  • Remove the stinger, especially if it’s stuck in your skin. This will prevent the release of more venom. Wash area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold pack or cloth filled with ice to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream (0.5 percent or 1 percent), calamine lotion or a baking soda paste — with a ratio of 3 teaspoons (15 milliliters) baking soda to 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) water — to the bite or sting several times a day until symptoms subside.
  • Take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol Severe Allergy) or chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton, Actifed).

Allergic reactions may include mild nausea and intestinal cramps, diarrhea, or swelling larger than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter at the site. See your doctor promptly if you experience any of these signs and symptoms.

For severe reactions
Severe reactions may progress rapidly. Call 911 or emergency medical assistance if the following signs or symptoms occur:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe Swelling
  • Swelling of the lips or throat
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hives
  • Nausea, cramps and vomiting

Take these actions immediately while waiting with an affected person for medical help:

  1. Check for medications that the person might be carrying to treat an allergic attack, such as an auto-injector of epinephrine (for example, EpiPen). Administer the drug as directed — usually by pressing the auto-injector against the person’s thigh and holding it in place for several seconds. Massage the injection site for 10 seconds to enhance absorption.
  2. Have the person take an antihistamine pill if he or she is able to do so without choking. Do this after administering epinephrine.
  3. Have the person lie still on his or her back with feet higher than the head.
  4. Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don’t give anything to drink.
  5. Turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking if there’s vomiting or bleeding from the mouth.
  6. Begin CPR if there are no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement.

If your doctor has prescribed an auto-injector of epinephrine, read the instructions before a problem develops and educate your household members as well. That way everyone knows what to do and stays calm.


Anaphylaxis

A life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can cause shock, a sudden drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

In people who have an allergy, anaphylaxis can occur minutes after exposure to a specific allergy-causing substance (allergen). In some cases, there may be a delayed reaction or anaphylaxis may occur without an apparent trigger.

If you’re with someone having an allergic reaction with signs of anaphylaxis:

  1. Immediately call 911 or your local medical emergency number.
  2. Ask the person if he or she is carrying an epinephrine autoinjector to treat an allergic attack (for example, EpiPen, Twinject).
  3. If the person says he or she needs to use an autoinjector, ask whether you should help inject the medication. This is usually done by pressing the autoinjector against the person’s thigh.
  4. Have the person lie still on his or her back.
  5. Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don’t give the person anything to drink.
  6. If there’s vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
  7. If there are no signs of breathing, coughing or movement, begin CPR. Do uninterrupted chest presses of about two a second until paramedics arrive.
  8. Get emergency treatment even if symptoms start to improve. After anaphylaxis, it’s possible for symptoms to recur. Monitoring in a hospital setting for several hours is usually necessary.

If you’re with someone having signs of anaphylaxis, don’t wait to see whether symptoms get better. Seek emergency treatment right away.

In severe cases, untreated anaphylaxis can lead to death within half an hour.

An antihistamine pill, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others), isn’t sufficient to treat anaphylaxis. These medications can help relieve allergy symptoms, but work too slowly in a severe reaction to help.

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Skin reactions including hives, itching, and flushed or pale skin
  • Swelling of the face, eyes, lips or throat
  • Constriction of the airways, leading to wheezing and trouble breathing
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness, fainting or unconsciousness

Some common anaphylaxis triggers include:

  • Medications (especially penicillin)
  • Foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish
  • Insect stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and fire ants

If you’ve had any kind of severe allergic reaction in the past, ask your doctor if you should be prescribed an epinephrine autoinjector to carry with you.