Clemson Agricultural Safety

Sting and Bite Safety – August 2023

Sting and Bite Safety

While working outdoors, it is common to come in contact with stinging insects and fire ants. It is important to take the proper precautions before working outside and ensure that you are familiar with the required treatment for insect stings and bites.

Protect Your Self

  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
  • Refrain from using perfumed soaps, sprays, and deodorants because this can attract stinging insects to you.
  • Avoid being around flowering plants, as this is often where stinging insects live.
  • Always clean up trash that is food related. Some insects, such as yellow jackets, are attracted to food residue.
  • If a stinging insect is around you, remain calm. Swatting at the insect may make them feel threatened and increases the chance of you being stung.
  • If you are stung, leave the area in a calm but hurried fashion. Some insects release chemicals when they sting you, which attracts other insects to the sting site.
  • If you are wearing pants and boots, tuck your pant legs into your boots to protect you from stinging and biting insects that might be on the ground, such as fire ants.
  • Be cautious when lifting and moving items that have been stored on the ground or outside. Stinging and biting insects will often make homes in these items and will feel threatened when you move their home.

First Aid

If you or a worker is stung by an insect:

  • Monitor the person to ensure that they do not have an allergic reaction to the sting.
  • Remove the stinger by wiping over it with a gauze or your fingernail. Never squeeze the stinger out.
  • Clean the area and apply ice or cold water to help reduce swelling.
  • Refrain from scratching the sting because this can increase swelling and the risk of the sting becoming infected.

If you or a worker is bitten by a snake:

  • Remain calm and call for emergency help.
  • If water and soap are available, gently wash the bite.
  • Remove any rings, watches, and jewelry that may become stuck because of swelling.
  • Keep the area of the bite below your heart. If it is on your arm or hand, do not elevate the bite.

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