Every day during the summer, many of us encounter the deadliest animal in the United States and don’t even realize it. That’s because they’re tiny enough to fit into a bottle cap. Bees, wasps and hornets kill 58 Americans every year on average, mostly by anaphylactic shock after a sting according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Take the following precautions to avoid being stung:
- Wear light colored clothing covering most of your body.
- Survey the work area; check near meters or under ledges for hives.
- Keep anti-bee spray on hand.
- Remain calm.
- Stop slowly and open the windows if a stinging insect is in your vehicle.
- Carry an EPI Pen if you’ve had past reactions.
- Communicate any allergies with coworkers.
If a sting occurs:
- Remove the stinger by gently scraping it off using a clean finger or the edge of a credit card/driver’s license; do not use tweezers as it can squeeze venom into the wound
- Wash the area with soap and cover with a cold compress
- Use Benadryl or a topical cream to ease pain and provide itch relief
Tick-borne illnesses are other bug-related hazards. Lyme Disease is commonly associated with ticks and the CDC reports more than 300,000 cases every year. Another tick-borne disease is Powassan Encephalitis.
To avoid ticks:
- Wear a hat, light-colored clothes, and long shirt and pants tucked into shoes, socks.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET on skin or clothing.
- Use insecticide such as Permethrin, only on clothes, for greater protection.
- Avoid tick habitats (brushy, overgrown grassy, woody areas).
- Check skin, clothes for ticks each time you come indoors.
- Wash and dry clothes at high temperature after exposure.
If you find a tick on yourself or a loved one, promptly remove it with tweezers and clean with soap or antiseptic.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
- Expanding circular rash (red bulls-eye) at site of bite
- Joint and muscle pains
- Sleep disturbance
- Swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms of Powassan Encephalitis
- Partial paralysis
If you have the symptoms above, seek medical attention promptly.