Ever woken up with a nasty bite, or gained an unwanted, bloodsucking hitchhiker on a walk through the jungle? Being bitten by exotic critters is one of the less enjoyable experiences of travel abroad, but it needn't put a dampener on your adventure. Here are a few first-aid measures to deal with unpleasant stingers of the air and sea.
Remember always to seek medical attention for stings in the mouth or throat, if you get rapid swelling from a sting anywhere, or if you experience breathing difficulties or signs of shock, such as a rapid pulse or sweating.
1. Bees and wasps. If the sting and its venomous sac are visible, remove with tweezers, being sure not to squeeze the venom out of its sac and into the wound. You can soothe the pain with an ice pack or damp cloth.
2. Ticks. Use a pair of tweezers to gently pull the head of the insect from the skin. Be sure to grip the head and to avoid the body bursting and spreading any germs. Twisting can help ease the process. Ticks can carry diseases, so watch out for symptoms such as a rash or fever.
3. Leeches. Avoid ripping them off in a panic or mouth parts may remain, causing infection. Apply alcohol, vinegar or salt to the attached end. Clean the area with antiseptic and apply pressure until bleeding stops.
4. Jellyfish. Get out of the water and remove any bits of tentacle with tweezers or a gloved hand. Pour on vinegar to disable remaining stinging cells. Don’t wash it with freshwater or rub it – it may make the pain worse.
5. Snakes. Always seek medical attention and make a note of what the snake looked like, so medics can find the right antivenin to use (if the snake is venomous). Moving around can speed the absorption of the venom, so make sure the bitten limb is immobilised with a sling or splint.