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Wasp or Bee Stings

Wasps and Bees are tenacious little creatures. You may think that being on board a yacht surrounded by water will make it extremely unlikely that any of the crew or guests will ever get stung.

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True. But what about those visits to restaurants or sight seeing? You need to be prepared.Appropriate first aid can reduce the pain of a sting and eliminate possible complications if left untreated.

First,  you need to be able to recognize the symptoms of anaphylatic shock which may indicate that the victim is suffering a severe reaction. In which case hospital treatment is needed. Fortunately such an incident will almost certainly happen on shore. Always have the details of a private hospital at hand wherever the yacht calls.

Basic treatment, that is when there are no severe  symptoms, is to remove the sting. Tweezers are best and should be kept in the yacht’s emergency medical pack. You scrape the sting in the opposite direction of the entry point – do not attempt to pluck the sting which may just release more poison. The idea is to clear a space so the sting comes  out with little or no pressure.

Then use soap and water to clean the exposed skin.

An ice pack will reduce any pain or swellling. Vinegar or bicarbonate of soda counter the effects of the poison.

A pain killer or antihistamine is also efficient at reducing pain and swelling, but these also have their contra-indications.

If the sting is to the mouth or throat, ask the patient to suck on ice cubes or cold water. Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion reduces itchiness.

Most bee or wasp stings are painful but the pain soon subsides. But you need to assure the patient that you are on top of the situation. Here is what happens when a bee stings you.

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