Insect/Animal Bites and Stings

Many bites are minor, although some may break the skin and bleed.  Bites that do not break the skin are usually not serious.  Some bites can become more serious if they become infected.  It is best to avoid any animal that is exhibiting unusual behavior.  Cats, dogs, skunks, raccoon, foxes, bats and other wild animals can be infected with rabies. 

Caring for a Bite 
  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Apply PPE
  • Call or direct a bystander to call EMS
  • Ask if you can help
  • Move away from the animal, if possible
  • Advise the victim to remain still and calm
    • Victim should avoid moving the part of the body that was bitten
  • Remove any clothing that covers the area
  • Flush the wound with running water
  • Clean it with soap and water
  • Stop any bleeding by applying pressure and dressings
  • If a bite breaks the skin, see a healthcare provider
  • Place an ice pack over any area that has bruising or swelling
  • For serious bites, remain with victim until EMS arrives
Snakes
  • It is important to identify the type of snake, if possible
  • Assume it is poisonous, if you do not know
  • Watch for signs of poisoning
    • Pain in the area, that continues to get worse
    • Swelling in the area
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Sweating
Bats
  • If a victim is in a room with a bat
    • Assume bite may have occurred
    • Do NOT kill the bat (rabies testing is impossible without live specimen)
    • Immediately seek medical attention from a healthcare provider
Insect, Bee and Spider Bites and Stings
  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Apply PPE
  • Call or direct a bystander to call EMS
  • Ask if you can help
  • Advise the victim to remain still and calm
    • Victim should avoid moving the part of the body that was bitten
  • Remove any clothing that is covering the injury
  • Gently wash the area of the injury with water (and soap, if possible)
  • Place an ice pack over any area the injury site
  • For serious bites, remain with victim until EMS arrives
  • Watch the victim for signs of allergic reaction (up to 30 minutes) – see allergic reaction section
    • If the victim has a known severe allergy to the insect bite or sting retrieve the victim’s epinephrine pen – see allergic reaction section
Bees
  • Look for the stinger
  • Scrape away the stinger and venom sack using something with a flat and dull edge – like a credit card
Ticks
  • Use tweezers or a tick-removing device
  • Grab by the mouth or head, as close to the skin as possible
  • Lift the tick straight out without twisting or squeezing its body
  • Wash the bite with running water (and soap, if available)
  • See healthcare provider if you are in an area where tick-borne diseases occur.  
  • Place the tick in a plastic bag and give it to the healthcare provider
Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning
  • Severe pain at the site of injury
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • Lack of response
Ongoing Care until EMS arrives
  • Check the victim using ABC assessment:
    • Airway – use head tilt-chin lift method
    • Breathing – look, listen and feel for breathing
    • Circulation – check for severe bleeding
  • Care for shock, if necessary
    • Victim lies on back
    • Cover and keep warm
    • Do not give anything to eat or drink
  • Record any changes in the victim’s condition
  • Report your findings and care to EMS when they arrive
  • If victim becomes unresponsive or has agonal breathing (irregular, shallow or gasping) or is not breathing at all – begin CPR
    • Continue CPR cycle until EMS arrives, a second rescuer takes over or you are too tired to continue
    • If you do not know CPR begin “Hands Only” compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute