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
  • Fever
  • Joint and muscle pains
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms of Powassan Encephalitis

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Partial paralysis
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Coma

If you have the symptoms above, seek medical attention promptly.

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