In this video, we discuss some first aid tips, such as how to deal with bites and stings.
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Lucy Piper: In the summer months particularly, when the children are outside playing in the garden, it's quite common for them to get bites and stings. So I'm joined by moms, Catherine and Susie, and Sam from St. John Ambulance. Sam, first of all, is it important to identify what has actually stung or bitten your child?
Samantha Dunsmore: I wouldn't say it is imperative to know what it is that has stung or bitten them. By looking at it, sometimes you can tell, wasps, for example, generally sting and withdraw, so there is a mark, but there is nothing left in it. A bee on the other hand will sting you and leave its barb in place. So it can give you an idea of what it is, but treatment-wise, it's not really going to change what you are going to do.
Catherine Greenburg: Does that mean you would actually prod to get the barb out?
Samantha Dunsmore: No, it's best not to prod or squeeze it because the risky run is that the little sack that's attached contains the poison, so you are going to squeeze more in. The easiest way to remove is simply to scrap it out. Just scrap it off the skin and in that way it's safely removed, with a fingernail or the first aid manual suggests using the edge of a blunt knife. I prefer the fingernail approach myself to remove it. That way it's safely out of the wound itself.
Susie Stamford: What signs can you look for if it's actually progressing because you can get a sting and you can see the harm, but if it's actually going to have an allergic reaction, what signs should we look for?
Samantha Dunsmore: Okay, generally speaking, a bee sting or wasp sting describes the localized reaction, say, you might get redness, it is itchy. We have all been bitten and stung by things in our lifetime. If though the redness starts to spread, so you get red blotches or patches appearing, most importantly, difficulty in breathing, because the swelling starts to occur in the body both externally and internally. So that would say to be, immediately, you need to be calling an ambulance.
Lucy Piper: What about if a child is stung in its mouth?
Samantha Dunsmore: Then, ideally the best way to do with that is again it's suggested to suck on an ice cube. I would say with little ones, probably an ice-lolly would be safer because you have stick to hold on to or an ice ball. So something too cool and soothe will help to take the swelling down.
Catherine Greenburg: Would the ice cube actually work on any other stings?
Samantha Dunsmore: Absolutely. It is say suggested that the best way of dealing with it is to cover it with either a cold compress which is tea towel under the cold tap and hold it on, or an ice pack. The only thing I would say particularly with skin is you shouldn't ice directly in contact with skin because it can actually cause more damage. So if you use for example a bag of frozen peas, wrap it in a tea towel first before you put it on the skin.
Susie Stamford: When is that you should start looking for medical attention?
Samantha Dunsmore: The minute you are worried and you are concerned that the sting is increasing in size or you think there is a problem, you should be thinking about asking for extra help. Be that ringing NHS Direct or be that ringing an ambulance.
Lucy Piper: A lot of children have pets, cats and dogs, so what do we do about animal bites?
Samantha Dunsmore: In the same way that you would do with a minor wound. We need to clean the wound. So it should be washed out under a running tap, covered over, and because it is an animal bite, there is always the risk of infection from saliva, so I would suggest you seek urgent medical attention. Get it looked out, get it checked out.
Lucy Piper: What about if a child gets bitten say by a dog abroad? Is there still a chance of rabies?
Samantha Dunsmore: In various countries around the world there are rabies problems and it's something -- it's always useful to know where you are going. Particularly, when you are taking small children is to be aware of the potential of dangers where you are. If there is a risk there, then you should seek immediate medical attention having carried out the basic washing and covering it but it should be checked.
Lucy Piper: Okay, thank you, Sam. So, just summarize. If your child is stung by a wasp, make sure to remove any obvious spots, scrap the sting, don't squeeze it and it's a good idea to apply an ice-pack or cold compress for ten minutes. Now if your child is stung in the mouth, it's a good idea to make them suck on an ice-lolly and if the swelling does persist, make sure you do call an ambulance. And for bites, simply wash, cover, and seek medical advice.