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Friday, 16 December 2011

How To Survive an Insect Bite

This morning I woke up with an amazingly impressive insect bite on my arm. It was a huge angry blister surrounded by a red ring.

Of course, running a survival blog like I do and thinking about surviving all the time, my first reaction was this : " Oh no, my arm is going to fall off!"

After a while I realised that there was not much pain beyond a dull throb and it did not seem to be actually threatening my life too much, so I set about investigating it on the Internet.

Since I do not live in Australia or a tropical climate, I was immediately able to eliminate a few of the more deadly possibilities, although typing with one hand does slow you down a lot. I was holding my bitten arm high up in the air because I vaguely recalled holding it above your heart to stop the poison spreading.

Luckily, a Secondary school physics qualification enabled me to discern that this would, in fact cause gravity to pull the poison further into my body, so I quickly held the arm lower than my heart instead. Always remember: cut, high, bite low!

After a few minutes on Facebook, and then a google past some of my favourite sites, I instantly discovered the best way to survive an insect bite. It is this:

1. Wash the affected area with warm, soapy water.
2. In case there is a sting, then remove this by pulling it out gently with tweezers, or else scraping it gently to force it out.
3. Take a painkiller to reduce the pain.
4. Apply a topical hydrocortisone cream, or an antiseptic ointment if desired.
5. Cover the bite or blister with a light dressing.
6. Monitor the patient for signs of fever, difficulty in breathing, or tracking of the redness around the bite. This could be the red ring spreading, or red tracks like spidery threads appearing around the area. In this case, a trip to the GP is advised.

And that is it, keep an eye on the bitten area, but really the best thing to do is to wait for it to get better. insects! We need them like a hole in the hand!

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