Many Bites & Stings have mild reactions; however, some bites and stings can have serious consequences, if untreated. Most stings aren’t fatal, but few insects do carry life-threatening viruses and diseases, such as West Nile Virus, Zika Virus or Lyme Disease. If severe reactions (anaphylaxis) are present, these are some symptoms you should look for: lowered blood pressure, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, swelling, redness, vomiting, and nausea.

Mild reactions: Use universal precautions, remove the stinger, apply a cold pack, give the patient a pain reliever, and use ointment, such as Benadryl, or any antihistamine, if necessary. Mild allergic reactions are diarrhea, swelling, cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

Severe reactions: Difficulty breathing, swelling (lips, throat, etc.), nausea, vomiting, hives, rapid heartbeat and faintness and dizziness.

Treatment: Administer an auto-injection into the patient (in the butt or thigh and massage injection for faster response). Perform CPR, if needed. Have the patient lay on his/her side to prevent choking, if necessary.

A Drug Overdose is a dose larger than the recommended assumption. Many reactions can occur, such as sleepiness or unconsciousness, excitement with a rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, impaired judgment and decision-making skills. Symptoms: death, unconsciousness, convulsions, delusional behavior, abnormal pupil size, difficulty breathing, nausea, non-reactive pupils, vomiting, sweating, numbness and violently aggressive behavior.

Treatment: Check universal precautions. Check if there’s a pulse, if not, perform CPR. Keep the patient calm and reassured of his/her safety. Check for any shock symptoms. For seizures and convulsions apply first-aid. Monitor vital signs. Make sure to document any and all drugs taken and keep the container and label.

If a Poisoning is suspected, make sure to call the National Capital Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Signs of Poisoning: vomiting, difficulty breathing, sleepiness, confusion, burns (redness) around the mouth, chemical odors out from the mouth and burns on clothing or skin. For poison-ingestion do not administer anything by mouth unless advised to do so by the PCC or EMS personnel.

Treatment: Make sure to take the patient outside for fresh air. Have the patient flush out his/her mouth. Make sure to read the label of the chemicals that were induced and read the instructions for poisoning. Flush the patient’s eyes and have the skin cleansed. If the patient isn’t breathing, perform CPR. Make sure to provide EMS personnel with the label if the patient needs medical attention.

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