Summertime doesn’t just bring sunshine and trips to the beach. It is also a time when bees and fire ants seem to be at every backyard cookout or day at the pool. Of course, we all try to avoid any painful run-ins with these pesky bugs, but what is the best way to avoid them? How do you know if you’re allergic? When do bug bites, like bee stings and ant bites, become dangerous?
Today, Victoria ER wants to talk more about these injuries, which are often known as Hymenoptera Stings. We’ll let you know some of the best techniques to avoid these bites, and how to tell if you need emergency care after getting one.
What are Hymenoptera Stings?
Hymenoptera refers to insects like bees, wasps, sawflies, and ants. Any bite or sting from these insects is, therefore, referred to as a Hymenoptera sting. Most people who have experienced a Hymenoptera sting feel pain, small areas of swelling, and sometimes a very itchy sensation. While no one enjoys getting bit by ants or stung by bees, in isolated incidences of a sting or a bite, it is easy to treat at home.
But, in the case of those who are sensitive or allergic to Hymenoptera stings, getting just one ant bite could become an emergency situation.
How do I know if I’m allergic?
Most people don’t know they are allergic to Hymenoptera stings until they are stung for the first time. While some families have a history of Hymenoptera allergies, many do not, and it can leave parents wondering whether their children are at an increased risk when they head outside to play this summer.
For parents who don’t know what to look for, the following are symptoms of the average Hymenoptera sting:
- Redness at site of sting
- Minor swelling
If you or your child only experience swelling and itchiness, then you are probably not having an allergic reaction, and can treat the sting at home with soap, water, calamine lotion, and an antiseptic cream.
However, if you see any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency care, because someone might be having a severe allergic reaction:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen lips, eyelids, or throat
- Dizziness, faintness, and mental confusion
- Increased heartbeat
- Sudden hives
- Nausea and vomiting
If you or someone you love experiences these symptoms after being bitten by an ant or stung by a bee or wasp, then seek immediate medical help. They may be having a severe allergic reaction and may require emergency treatment.
How do I avoid Hymenoptera stings?
For most people, avoiding Hymenoptera stings is as simple as avoiding Hymenoptera insects. If you live in a house or apartment which doesn’t have many areas for ant hills, and doesn’t have many wasp nests, then you will have a lower risk of running into these stinging insects. But for many, ant hills can pop up in the backyard in warm weather, and as backyard flowers bloom, the bees will come wandering over.
When it comes to ants, you want to vigilant about where any hills, mounds, and beds might be. There are pesticides and natural options to help you get ride of ant beds in your backyard, and with some helpful research and advice, you can decide how to clear your property of these insects. When your family goes to the park or camping, though, you won’t be able to remove ant beds. In this case, it is important to teach your kids what to watch for around their feet. Help them learn to avoid ant beds, since ants will not aggressively seek out ankles to bite.
For wasps, you’ll want to look for their nests along railings, decks, and eaves of houses and apartments. Wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets make nests which can become a risk for anyone. These insects are often more aggressive and will try to sting you if you get too close, so make sure you safely dispose of nests and keep all your windows and roofing eaves clean. Yellow jackets, in specific, tend to make nests on the ground, so watch out for any muddy areas or nests along bricks and tile grout on patios.
Bees, on the other hand, are not something that you should try to get rid of. Bees are very helpful pollinators, and with international shortages of honeybees, everyone should be mindful of supporting natural bee colonies, while still staying safe. If you do not have any bee allergies in the family, then you can try planting a bee-friendly flower bed in your yard which is furthest away from your back door, pool, patio, or any other activity space you have. This will give the bees their own corner or pollinating and activity which is as far as it can be from where you and your family will be interacting this summer. To make sure bees are not attracted to you, be mindful of which perfumes or cologne you might be wearing.
Hymenoptera stings can be a concern for many during the summer, but when families are mindful of their surroundings and take proper precautions with bugs, then kids and adults can stay safe. In the event of an allergic reaction and bug-bite emergency, Victoria ER is open 24/7 with concierge-level care for all ages. We encourage everyone to get outside and have fun this summer and are here to support you should ants and bees become a risk. To learn more about Hymenoptera bites, watch Victoria ER’s own Dr. Hathorn below:
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Victoria ER or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.