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BITES AND STINGS

Insects and related pests are hazards in a survival situation. They not only cause irritations, but they are often carriers of diseases that cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. In many parts of the world you will be exposed to serious, even fatal, diseases not encountered in the United States.

Ticks can carry and transmit diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever common in many parts of the United States. Ticks also transmit the Lyme disease.

Mosquitoes may carry malaria, dengue, and many other diseases. Flies can spread disease from contact with infectious sources. They are causes of sleeping sickness, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.

Fleas can transmit plague.

Lice can transmit typhus and relapsing fever.

The best way to avoid the complications of insect bites and stings is to keep immunizations (including booster shots) up-to-date, avoid insect-infested areas, use netting and insect repellent, and wear all clothing properly. If you get bitten or stung, do not scratch the bite or sting, it might become infected. Inspect your body at least once a day to ensure there are no insects attached to you. If you find ticks attached to your body, cover them with a substance, such as Vaseline, heavy oil, or tree sap, that will cut off their air supply. Without air, the tick releases its hold, and you can remove it. Take care to remove the whole tick. Use tweezers if you have them. Grasp the tick where the mouth parts are attached to the skin. Do not squeeze the tick’s body. Wash your hands after touching the tick. Clean the tick wound daily until healed.

Treatment

It is impossible to list the treatment of all the different types of bites and stings. Treat bites and stings as follows:

  • If antibiotics are available for your use, become familiar with them before deployment and use them.
  • Predeployment immunizations can prevent most of the common diseases carried by mosquitoes and some carried by flies.
  • The common fly-borne diseases are usually treatable with penicillins orerythromycin.
  • Most tick-, flea-, louse-, and mite-borne diseases are treatable with tetracycline.
  • Most antibiotics come in 250 milligram (mg) or 500 mg tablets. If you cannot remember the exact dose rate to treat a disease, 2 tablets, 4 times a day for 10 to 14 days will usually kill any bacteria.
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