With every bite prevention is always the best answer. With insects there are many products on the market and lately we’ve found that keeping a dryer sheet in your pocket is a deterrent, or skin so soft from Avon or some sun screens or even vicks vaporub, who knew? So after prevention comes infection prevention and itch and pain relief, here are some helps:

Flies and mosquitoes – wash thoroughly with soap and water then apply an antiseptic. To help control inflammation moisten your skin and rub an aspirin tablet right over the bite. Do not do this if you have an aspirin sensitivity or allergy

To relieve itching – calamine lotion, ice packs, a salt paste, epsom salts (dissolve 1 tbs epsom salts in 1 quart of hot water, chill, apply with clean cloth as needed), or try an oral or topical allergy medicine.

Ticks – prevention! Wear long sleeves and long pants with good socks and shoes when walking or hiking is tick areas.

To remove a tick – dont just flick it off!! If you leave the jaw imbedded you are setting the stage for infection. So ease it out, take a pair of tweezers and very slowly pull the tick out, don’t pull too fast. If it’s not working blow out a match and hold it to the ticks backside, the heat will encourage it to let go. If you don’t have tweezers, take a drop of gasoline, kerosene, benzine or alcohol, this will irritate the tick and cause it to let go. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD NEAR A FLAME!! This method will take up to 10 minutes to work so be patient. You can also cover the tick with a drop of paraffin or fingernail polish to suffocate the tick. Once the tick is removed, clean the area well.

Dogs and Cats – all but the most minor of bites should be seen by a doctor. For minor bites, wash thoroughly with soap and water, control the bleeding and bandage. You may have to elevate the wound or ice it. Use aspirin to control pain.

Some things to look out for – Infection, if it gets red, painful, hot, get help. Crush injury, some big dogs have very powerful jaws, they can crush without breaking the skin. If tingling develops or if the injury changes color, go to the hospital. Rabies, contact the animals owner to see if the shots are up to date. Make sure the animal is watched, rabies treatment for you can be delayed as long as the animal shows no symptoms, as long as the bite isnt close to the head or too severe. Rocky mountain spotted fever, if you were bitten by a tick a rash may develop around your wrists or ankles and spread to the rest of your body, watch for high fever and terrible headaches and see a doctor. Lyme disease, also caused by ticks, starts as a ringwormlike spot at the site of the bite. It can be very serious if not treated but can be easily cured with antibiotics. Symptoms may not develop for weeks so keep an eye on the area.

With any bite if you haven’t had a tetanus booster shot within the last 5-8 years, get one now