How To Handle Bites and Stings. Today, we start a new series on The Mouth-to-mouth (Dr. ‘Malik) Show. This month of April, we will be looking at developing first aid skills.

how to handle bites and stings

First Aid is important in preserving health, preventing infection, and preventing death. You see, first aid is important. [tweetthis]You will be able to help yourself, health-wise, in a situation where there is no doctor or health person.[/tweetthis].

For today’s episode in this series, we will be looking at how to handle bites and stings. We will look at snake bites (and dog bites) and scorpion stings (and bee/spider stings).

I developed a code or system to help you remember what to do in cases of emergency; of course, because you might be too agitated or excited to remember what to do.

I crafted 4Ps to help you remember:
#1: Protect the person
#2: Pacify the person
#3: Position the person
#4: Prepare the person

And we will use these to give us safety and health tips for handling bites and stings.

As usual, to get details, download audio podcast above

How to handle snake bites (and dog-bites)

#1: Protect the person

Protect the person from further bites. Good if you can kill the snake but don’t risk further bites. Identify the snake if you can. Take photos if you can. All these will be important in the treatment in the hospital. But protect the person (and yourself). And don’t waste valuable time trying to kill the snake. For dogs, get the story about the dog, how it attacked and why. Also, ask if the dog is immunized for rabies. Protect the person.

#2: Pacify the person

Reassure the person. Calm the person down. Fear and anxiety increase the heart rate, and increase blood flow and makes the venom spread faster and wider. 70% of snake bites are harmless, and even among the 30% harmful ones, more than half of the time, their bites are harmless. Tell the person that. Pacify the person.

#3: Position the person

Immobilize the person to reduce movement — especially of the bitten site or limb. Let the person stay still and calm as much as possible. Use wood or carton or any hard material to immobilize the limb (just as is done for a fractured or broken bone). Position the person.

#4: Prepare the person (for hospital)

  • Wash the bite site with soap and water.
  • Do not use tourniquet or anything that will prevent blood flow all in an attempt to prevent venom spread.
  • Don’t cut, or suck wound. For dogs, you could gently squeeze some blood out if there’s a wound. But don’t cut. Don’t suck.
  • Don’t give person anything to eat or drink (especially alcohol).
  • Don’t apply ice-block or packs.
  • Don’t give person any drug or pain medicine.
  • Don’t use traditional help. There is no substantial, reliable evidence or proof of the efficacy in snake or dog bites.
  • Take the person to the hospital immediately!

How to handle scorpion stings (and bee and spider stings)

#1: Protect the person

Stings are usually very painful, but most times, harmless. You might not need to do anything. However, if the victim of the sting is a child of 5 years or less; and elderly person; or any age with strange symptoms like: vomiting, convulsion, difficulty in breathing, etc…rush to the hospital! Take the person off site to prevent more stings. Protect the person.

#2: Pacify the person

Calm the person down to prevent the spread of the poison from the sting.

#3: Position the person

Keep the sting area still and below the chest level.

#4: Prepare the person

  • If it is a bee sting, try as much as possible to remove the stinger from the skin. Bees usually inject and deposit a tiny stuff (called the stinger) during the sting. Scratch or scrape skin with a hard material to remove stinger
  • Wash the sting area with soap and water.
  • Apply ice block or ice pack to the sting site. Pack some ice blocks into a piece of cloth and apply to the site . Keep it there for 10-15 minutes, then remove. Repeat again till the person feels better.
  • Unlike the first aid for bites, you could give the person pain medicine like ibuprofen or Diclofenac
  • For those who have first aid boxes, apply the following: calamine lotion (also used for chicken pox), hydro-cortisone cream, antihistamine cream, benzocaine cream. All these would help reduce pain, itching and allergic reaction
  • If after all these you aren’t comfortable, call me or take the person to a hospital for expert care.


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