As the weather continues to produce large amounts of rain and warmer temperatures, many creepy crawlies are finding the conditions ideal for breeding, which means more insect activity¹, and a higher chance of bites and stings.
Synonymous with summer, the shrill buzz of the mosquito is surely one of the most irritating noises you’ll ever hear. But it’s not as irritating as a mosquito bite and the itchiness that can follow. With more than 300 species in Australia², the blood-sucking mosquito is annoyingly prevalent, but there are plenty of other creatures to be mindful of, including bees, wasps, ants and ticks, plus plants such as nettles.
While most bites and stings are relatively harmless, they don’t always feel this way. Even a mild reaction can be accompanied by pain and itchiness. Thankfully, there are a few simple ways to help soothe an insect bite or sting like this. Firstly, move to a safe area to avoid further bites or stings. If required, remove the stinger by scraping a straight-edged object, such as the back of a knife or a credit card, across it.³ Although it may be tempting, don’t use tweezers. Wash the affected area with soap and water, and use a cool compress, then apply a cream or gel, such as SOOV Bite, to help further relieve symptoms.⁴
SOOV Bite is a soothing gel containing two active ingredients that help the skin in two important ways. Lidocaine (lignocaine) hydrochloride monohydrate helps alleviate the pain by numbing the affected area; and the antiseptic cetrimide helps prevent infection. The gentle formula is suitable for children above two years and adults, and can be applied up to four times daily to help relieve symptoms all day long.
Always read the label and follow the directions for use.
Usually, the tell-tale signs of a bite or sting will disappear after a day or two without treatment. If you have concerns, call your GP. Occasionally some people have a severe allergic reaction to being bitten or stung by an insect. Be particularly mindful and vigilant if you have been in an area where Ross River Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, or other serious vector-borne diseases are prevalent. Call 000 for an ambulance if any of the following symptoms occur:
- difficult or noisy breathing
- difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
- a swollen tongue
- persistent dizziness or collapse
- swelling or tightness in the throat
- pale and floppy (young children)
- wheeze or persistent cough
- abdominal pain or vomiting.⁵
- Lessard B, Yeates D. From warm to swarm: why insect activity increases in summer. [Internet]. Australian Geographic. 2016 Dec 1. [cited 2022 Mar 29]. Available from: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science- environment/2016/12/experts-predict-increased-insect-activity-this-summer/
- Webb C, Doggett S, Russell R. A guide to Mosquitoes of Australia. ePUB. CSIRO publishing. 2016.
- Heller JL, Zieve D, Conaway B. Stinger Removal. [Internet]. Medline Plus. 2019 Sep 23. [updated 2022 Mar 21, cited 2022 Mar 29]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19629.htm
- Insect bites and stings. [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2022 Mar 18. [cited 2022 Mar 29]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-insect-bites/basics/art-20056593
- Insect bites and stings. [Internet]. Health Direct. 2021 Dec. [cited 2022 Mar 29]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/insect-bites-and-stings