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Insect stings

Insect stings from a bee, wasp or hornet can be painful but are usually not dangerous. First there is a sharp pain, followed by mild swelling, redness and soreness.

Sometimes they can cause the body to have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock), so it’s important to look out for this and get medical help quickly if necessary.

What to look for

There are four things to look for:

  1. 1. Redness
  2. 2. Swelling
  3. 3. Itchiness
  4. 4. Stinging pain

What you need to do

If you can see the sting, brush or scrape it off sideways. (Don’t use tweezers to try and pull it out, or you could squeeze more poison into the wound).

Put an ice pack or something cold on the wound to reduce the swelling and raise the part of the body that's affected. If the sting is in the mouth or throat, get them to suck an ice cube or sip cold water.

Keep checking the casualty's breathing, pulse and level of response.

If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction such as breathing difficulties or reddened, swollen itchy skin, particularly to the face or neck call 999 or 112 for emergency medical help.

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