Stinging insects can be hazardous to outdoor workers. Outdoor workers are at high risk of exposure to them. They are most prevalent in spring around the time of new flowers. The health effects of stinging insects can range from mild discomfort to a lethal reaction for those who are allergic. Anaphylactic shock is the body’s severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting and requires immediate emergency care.
Preventing Insect Stings
- Wear light colored clothing
- Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos and deodorants
- Wear clean clothing and bathe daily (sweat may anger bees)
- Avoid areas of flowering plants when possible
- Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible
- Keep work areas clean. Social wasps thrive in areas of discarded food.
- Remain calm if a single stinging insect is flying around. Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.
- If you are attacked by several stinging insects at once, run to get away from them. Bees release a chemical when they sting that may attract other bees.
- Go indoors
- A shaded area is better than an open area
- Do not jump into water
- If a bee enters your vehicle: stay calm, stop the car slowly, and open all the windows
- Workers with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider caring an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) and should wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.
- Have someone stay with the worker to be sure that they do not have an allergic reaction
- Wash the site with soap and water
- Remove the stinger using gauze wiped over the area, or by scraping a finger nail over the area.
- Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers
- Apply ice to reduce swelling
- Do not scratch the site of the sting as this may increase swelling, itching and risk of infection
Think SAFE, Be SAFE, Work SAFE.