Safety Focused: Handling Insect Bites and Stings

Although warmer weather often entails more time spent working outdoors, it also creates additional exposure to insects. Specifically, working outdoors during the spring and summer months can elevate your risk of experiencing insect bites and stings.

To minimise the risk of being bitten or stung, follow these tips:

  • Use insect repellent—Use a repellent that contains between 20 and 30 per cent DEET on exposed skin and clothing. Reapply the repellent as directed.
  • Wear appropriate clothing—Cover any exposed skin as much as possible by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, pants, socks and close-toed shoes.
  • Pay attention to outbreaks—Check with government agencies, such as Public Health England, for guidance regarding insect outbreaks.

Even after taking steps to reduce your risk, insect bites and stings can still happen. If you find yourself bitten or stung, follow these response tips:

  • Move to a safe, indoor area to avoid additional bites or stings.
  • If needed, remove the stinger.
  • Clean the area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cool compress to the area to reduce pain and swelling. If the affected area is on your leg, be sure to elevate it.
  • Apply cortisone cream, calamine lotion or baking soda to the affected area several times a day, until the symptoms go away.
  • Consider taking an antihistamine to help reduce itchiness. Follow all dosage instructions.

If you experience any of the following symptoms after an insect bite or sting, please seek medical attention immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the lips, eyelids or throat
  • Dizziness, faintness or confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hives
  • Nausea, cramps or vomiting

If you have any further questions about preventing or responding to insect bites and stings in the workplace, contact your supervisor.

 

Content by Zywave, Inc. provided by TH March.

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