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Bites and stings

Bites and stings from common insects will cause swelling and stinging at the injury site, but are usually not serious. Some spider bites, tick bites and, of course, snakebites require immediate medical attention. So do stings that appear to cause an allergic reaction and any bite or sting that induces wheezing or difficult breathing.

Seek medical advice if:

  • If a bite, sting, burn or itch looks strange,
  • It appears to be exceedingly painful for your child or seems to get worse quickly it may be a good idea to see a doctor.

What to do

  • Always wash any bite or sting with soap and water and then apply tea tree oil to the wound to reduce the possibility of infection.
  • Ice or a cold compress will numb the area and reduce pain.
  • To soothe irritation and relieve itching, apply witch hazel, aloe vera gel or calendula cream.

There are a few different types of insects that bite or sting and they can be quite different in there management.

Bees, wasps and ants- The stingers

If stung by a bee or a wasp look for the stinger and carefully scrape it away with a knife blade or a credit card. If this is not possible brush it away with your hand, don’t attempt to pull it out with tweezers as this will squeeze the poison into the skin making it more painful.

Seek medical attention if:

  • If the swelling continues to increase after a day or if swelling in a hand or foot spreads past the wrist or ankle
  • If your baby has been stung by several insects

Call an ambulance if:

  • There is a rash over many parts of the body
  • There is shortness of breath and tightness in his chest
  • Your baby is wheezing
  • If you notice a swollen tongue, hands, or face

Ticks

If you find a tick on your baby’s body, act quickly. Ticks can carry a wide range of bacteria and young children can become very sick if infected. By removing the tick as soon as possible, you reduce the likelihood of contracting any disease that it might be carrying.

Never yank the tick out with your fingers; by jerking it out, you may pull out the body only, leaving its head lodged in your skin.

Remove the tick using blunt tweezers, grasp the head first. Try to get the tweezers as close as possible to where the tick embedded itself, and pull back slowly, but firmly, until you’ve removed it. Don’t squeeze or twist the tick as this will encourage it to release the poison. You can often find tweezers specially designed for removing ticks at your local vet.

Seek medical attention if:

  • You can’t get the whole tick out. Inspect the tick after removal with a magnifying glass to see if you can see a head and a body. If you don’t feel sure that you have the whole thing, take the tick and your baby to a doctor for examination.
  • If an inflammation or rash develops around the bite area.
  • You don’t feel confident removing the tick yourself; you can take your child to a doctor to have it removed.

Mosquitoes, flies and fleas- The biting insects

  • There is very rarely any complications from these types of bites, the most common being infection.
  • If your baby is allergic to the insect’s venom, more intense swelling and itching will be experienced.
  • You can make your own repellant by diluting 4 drops of Citronella oil in a table spoon of carrier oil and rubbing this into exposed skin. This will not be as long lasting as commercial chemical type repellants, you will need to reapply approximately every two hours. See the aromatherapy section for a soothing oil mixture.

Aromatherapy

Soothing oil blend

1 drop tea tree oil, 1 drop lavender oil and 1 drop chamomile oil mixed with a teaspoon of carrier oil can be used to soothe irritation and reduce the risk of infection for any insect bite or sting.

Other therapies

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. You can use vitamin C topically to reduce inflammation. You can use a powder or crush a pill into a powder, and mix with just enough water to form a paste, then apply to the sting or bite area.
  • If your baby has multiple bites that are large, red and itchy it may help to reduce the inflammation and speed up the healing process to give some vitamin C internally. If your baby is older than 6 months, vitamin C powder can be added to water or diluted fruit juice. A dose of 125mg daily is sufficient for a baby. If diarrhea develops discontinue the vitamin C. Give this for up to 3 days.
  • For a fully breastfed baby, therapeutic Vitamin C doses can be obtained through breast milk. A suggested dose for the mother is 1.5 grams twice daily. Halve the dosage if diarrhea develops. Continue this for as long as required.

Aloe Vera gel

  • This is a great wound healer and is very soothing when applied to irritated skin. It is even more soothing after it has been chilled in the fridge.
  • This is best used straight from the plant if you have some in the garden. Break some off an older leaf, slice it lengthwise and squeeze the gel from it. Apply directly to the affected area and store the remaining gel in the fridge. Apply every hour while symptoms are severe then twice a day for several days.
  • Aloe Vera gel can be bought from a health food store if you can’t get fresh.

Homoeopathy

The following homeopathic remedies may be effective in treating many bites and stings

Aconite

  • This remedy can be helpful if a person feels fearful or panicked after being stung.
  • Cutting, stabbing, or burning pain may be felt, along with swelling, tingling, or numbness.
  • Aconitum should be used immediately, while symptoms are intense, and can be followed by another remedy, as indicated.

Apis

  • If a bite or bee sting causes puffy, tender swelling that is pink or red and hot to the touch, this remedy may be helpful.
  • The area stings and burns
  • Cold applications bring relief.
  • If a person is allergic to insect venom, especially bee-stings, Apis may help to reduce the swelling of the passages, given as first aid while on the way to emergency medical care.

Cantharis

  • This remedy may be indicated if a bite or sting results in intensely burning, scalding pain.
  • The area of inflammation is red
  • Blisters may develop.

Carbolicum acidum

  • This remedy is usually indicated in first-aid situations, while medical help is being sought.
  • The person feels sick and weak, and may have trouble breathing, with a dark or reddish face that looks pale around the mouth.

Hypericum

  • This remedy is known for its soothing effect on injuries to nerve-rich body areas.
  • Useful after puncture wounds, including bites and stings.
  • Shooting pains or pains with numbness and tingling often are experienced when hypericum is needed.

Ledum palustre:

  • Swelling extends some distance from the bite
  • There is often a bluish tinge, a feeling of cold and numbness, and aching pain The swollen part seems cold, but the application of ice or cold water brings relief,
  • Ledum is the best medicine for puncture wounds which is exactly what a sting is.

Urtica urens

  • Reddish blotches that burn and itch intensely after insect bites may be relieved with this remedy.
  • Especially indicated for hives that sting and itch.

Always give emergency essence or rescue remedy- For distress, fear and trauma

Reflexology

Thumb press the solar plexus area to relive distress associated with pain.

Bumps and Bruises

Bruises are a result of normal bumps, falls, bangs, and thumps which are encountered by all babies at some time or another no how careful you are.

A hard bump will cause blood vessels under the skins surface to rupture, allowing blood to leak out and accumulate under the surface of the skin. The blood, no longer supplied with oxygen is responsible for the change in colour, from purple, blue, green, yellow then to brown.

Seek medical advice if:

  • Whenever you encounter a significant amount of swelling, pain and bruising within 30 minutes of an injury, this could indicate a severe soft tissue injury or possibly a broken bone
  • Your child has unexplained bruising
  • If your child bruises very easily

If medical causes for easy or unexplained bruising have been ruled out then nutrient deficiencies could be investigated.

Topical applications

  • Use Hot/cold therapy in the first 24 hours
  • Apply an ice pack immediately. Wrap the ice pack in a tea towel or a hand towel before applying to the skin.  A flexible ice pack can be made by putting two parts water and 1 part alcohol in a nylon bag and freezing.
  • Try to apply the ice pack for 10 mins. at a time, several times throughout the 24 hour period. Most babies and young children won’t allow this.
  • Cold constricts the blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood that leaks out of the damaged vessel.
  • Avoid activities that might increase swelling such as taking hot showers, using hot tubs, hot packs as these things may actually increase bruising and swelling.
  • After the first 48 hours, apply a warm washcloth to the bruise for 10 minutes, 3 times a day. This will help blood blow to the area and speed up healing by mopping up blood from surrounding tissues.

Creams

Arnica and calendula cream

Rub gently onto the bruise to reduce swelling and help to break down escaped blood. Apply 3 times daily until the bruise disappears.

Witch hazel

  • May help to heal damaged veins.
  • Distilled witch hazel can be applied to the skin as a compress or a spray to treat bruises and cuts.
  • It may help tighten stretched veins and restore vessel tone, decrease inflammation, and decrease bleeding. Witch hazel is recommended for external use only.
  • Do not give it by mouth as it can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and, possibly faecal impactions.

Give emergency essence or rescue remedy for trauma and distress associated with an accident

Homoeopathy

Arnica

  • The medicine for shock or trauma of any injury. It helps reduce pain, diminish swelling, and begin healing.
  • Arnica is also an excellent medicine before or after surgery. It is used as well before and after dental surgery, and before, during, and after labor to help the mother and infant deal with the shock and stress of birth.

Aromatherapy

  • The top essential oil for bruising is helicrysum. It has the unique ability in its chemical makeup to penetrate tissues and enter the circulatory system to help with swelling and hemorrhages (the trauma to the underlying blood vessels damaged in the bruising or spraining.)
  • Helicrysum also has the ability to help take away acute pain in this type of injury.
  • Helicrysum doesn’t necessarily need to be diluted in a carrier oil. It can be applied directly to the skin to help reduce the swelling, bruising and discoloration in the affected area
  • Lavender and Chamomile can be used as part of the hot/cold therapy as a compress.

Reflexology

Thumb press the solar plexus point to help deal with distress associated with an accident

Cuts and scrapes

Seek medical help if:

  • The cut is deep
  • The flow of blood is strong
  • You can’t stop the bleeding
  • You are concerned

Basic first aid measures

  • Apply firm pressure to stop the bleeding
  • Elevate the injured part
  • Apply a wrapped ice pack to the injured part

What to do about it

  • Give a dose of emergency essence or rescue remedy.
  • Clean the wound with tea tree oil diluted in a little carrier oil.
  • Dry with a clean cloth and apply a band aid if needed to hold the sides of the wound together. If this is not necessary, healing may be quicker if left uncovered.
  • Keep the wound clean until it has formed a protective scab, diluted tea tree oil can be applied during this time to help prevent infection.
  • Once the wound has formed a scab Tea tree, Calendula and Comfrey cream can be applied topically three times a day until healed. This will speed up healing and reduce scarring. This should only be used if there is no chance of infection. If you are concerned about infection wait for the scab to fall off then you can use this cream to minimise scar formation.
  • If there is particular concern about scarring, vitamin E oil can be applied until the wound completely healed.

Aromatherapy

  • Use diluted tea tree oil topically on the affected area to prevent and treat infection as well as aid tissue healing.
  • Calendula infused oil is a fabulous tissue healer.

Homoeopathic remedies

Hypericum

  • For deep and infected cuts.
  • This can be used as a topical cream or as an internal remedy.
  • Has the ability to close open wounds and sometimes prevents the need for stitches.

Calendula

  • This is for uninfected wounds.
  • Can be used externally as an ointment in treating cuts, abrasions and burns.
  • Can help stop bleeding, inhibit infection, and promote granulation of tissues to help heal wounds and burns.
  • Note: Calendula can work so rapidly in healing the skin that it is not recommended for use in deep cuts. In deep cuts calendula can sometimes close and heal the outside skin before the tissue underneath is completely healed.

Ledum

  • The best medicine for puncture wounds, whether it be from a needle, a nail, or other sharp object.
  • Can be helpful in healing wounds and preventing tetanus. In case medical attention should be sought immediately.
  • Especially if the affected part feels cold and yet feels relieved by cold applications.

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