Some good ways to avoid insect stings
Nothing can ruin a perfectly nice picnic or hike like an insect sting. It could lead to local discomfort, swelling, redness and pain. It could even cause an anaphylactic reaction to those people who are truly allergic to an insect’s venom.
It’s not easy to train yourself to ignore insects. It’s more likely you’ll make sudden movements and wave your arms or swat the air. I totally get it. This article can help you avoid a sting.
First, don’t wear red! Red can appear to be very dark or black, a color bees and wasps associate with a predator, so they will go on the defensive and get angered.
If you wear bright-colored clothes, you could easily be mistaken for a flower. In fact, do not wear a flowery shirt because they’ll have to get up close to you to see that you’re not actually a plant.
Your best bet is to wear neutral earth tones to blend in with the flora and fauna, such as beige, khaki, maroon, black or grey.
Here are some of the best tips to avoid getting stung by an insect:
—Wear long sleeves and long pants to cover as much of you as possible.
—Don’t walk up to their nest; they will defend it with their lives.
—Avoid using fruit-flavored lip gloss and soaps.
—Do not wear perfume or scented deodorants.
—Do not use scented shampoo, conditioner or lotion.
—Dispose of soft drink cans and bottles because they attract bees. It’s sort of like sugar water, and they love it.
—Bugs are partial to beer! Keep an eye out so one doesn’t crawl into your beer for a sip, and then you drink a mouthful.
—Make sure you’re clean. Some insects get “angry” if they smell sweat.
—Avoid bananas, which might attract bees.
—Watch out if you are near discarded food or dog feces.
—Wasps have a keen sense of smell and detest wormwood, peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus and thyme. If you dab yourself with these essential oils, it might deter them from coming too close. For that matter, you could plant these herbs in your garden to act as a natural insect repellant.
What to do about stings
If you get stung, move away to safety quickly. Don’t worry about getting the stinger out in that moment; just get away.
Bees can only sting a person once but will release a chemical that attracts other bees nearby. Wasps can sting repeatedly, so if you get bit, run away from the space as quickly as possible.
Bees will leave their stinger in the skin, but wasps don’t usually do that. It’s best to scrape the stinger away from you with a credit card, letter opener or something like that versus tweezers, which might squeeze more venom into you.
Usually hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or aloe helps with immediate first aid; however, some people need an antihistamine or numbing agent.
This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit suzycohen.com.