Insect bites in Bali

Photo: MIA Studio/Shutterstock
Bali is not only a paradise for tourists but also for diverse wildlife that crawls through fields, beaches, sneaks into houses, flies in search of food, or protects their homes and offspring from humans. Bites are not very common, but we'll tell you what to do if you get bitten.
Bites of blood-sucking insects
Bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and bedbugs can cause traumatic, allergic, and toxic reactions simultaneously. Bites cause redness of the skin, swelling may occur, and the bite area itches.
Each person has an immune reaction to such exposure, and susceptibility to developing allergies is individual. It is necessary to evaluate not only local manifestations but also the overall condition of the body. If the condition remains normal, and the local swelling is minor and the temperature does not rise, then you can cope with this problem on your own using the following actions:
- Apply cold or ice to the affected area. Blood vessels narrow, making it more difficult for toxic components to enter the bloodstream, and swelling subsides.
- Compresses with a solution of alcohol (dilute alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio) can help relieve itching.
- Rinsing with a solution of baking soda (one tablespoon of soda per glass of water or applying a fairly thick, paste-like mass to the affected area).
- As prescribed by a doctor, you can use ointments with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents, local antihistamines, as well as ointments and solutions with menthol, which reduce itching.
From ointments in pharmacies in Bali, you can buy hydrocortisone under various trade names (Dermacoid, Locoid), and from tablets, cetirizine in the form of Intrizin or loratadine in the form of Claritin.
As a rule, unpleasant phenomena after the measures taken pass, however, firstly, there are people who have allergic reactions to insect venom, and secondly, insects can be carriers of serious diseases. Mosquitoes can be carriers of dengue fever, ticks can infect Lyme disease and encephalitis, fleas carry the plague, etc.
Plague, Lyme disease, and encephalitis are rarely encountered in Bali, but dengue fever can be contracted during the rainy season if mosquitoes are allowed to bite.
Multiple bites are especially dangerous due to the development of allergies, even in a life-threatening form. If bitten by a tick, the insect must be completely removed along with the head (for example, apply vegetable oil to it, shake it off, and remove it with tweezers) and send it to the laboratory for analysis. Further treatment or its absence will depend on the results of the tick analysis.
Stinging insect bites
More dangerous are the stings of bees, wasps, bumblebees, and hornets.
They are accompanied by the formation of inflammatory nodules, which can persist for quite some time. They develop due to infection. Sometimes there is an enlargement of the lymph nodes.
Particular care should be taken with stings to the face, mouth, and neck, as they can cause pain, severe swelling, and even, in the most severe cases, respiratory arrest. If stung in the face, emergency medical assistance should be sought immediately.
It is necessary to try to avoid places where there are clusters of such insects, wear closed clothing, and protect the face. Remember, stinging insects do not attack humans on their own; their stings are defensive.
Allergic reactions to the stings of such insects can be systemic in nature:
- Formation of a skin rash both around the sting site and on other areas of the skin;
- Swelling (at the affected site and then spreading throughout the body);
- With multiple bee or hornet stings, anaphylactic shock may develop.
- In these cases, immediate specialized emergency medical care is required.
How to provide first aid to a victim?
- If the sting is still embedded in the wound, it must be removed, the skin washed with soap, and then treated with an antiseptic.
- Compresses or poultices based on a semi-alcoholic solution should be applied for 1.5-2 hours.
- Apply ice or a cold compress to the affected area - it reduces swelling and itching.
- Topical applications: hormonal gels and ointments are used. The compress should be left on for 2-3 hours, then the skin should be washed and treated with alcohol.
- In the case of multiple widespread stings in the form of infiltrates (nodules), antihistamines and anti-inflammatory antibacterial drugs should be taken as prescribed by a doctor.
- Treatment for a severe reaction to a sting may last several days.
Bites of poisonous insects
If you are bitten by a poisonous insect (such as scorpions and some spiders), the following symptoms may occur:
- Very sharp pain at the time of the bite;
- A wound appears on the skin, and around it there is a whitish swelling in the form of a bump;
- Bleeding may occur, red spots or blisters with blood appear;
- General condition worsens: headaches may occur, dizziness may occur;
- The affected area of the body may become numb;
- The temperature rises, while blood pressure drops.
If you have these symptoms or suspect a bite from a poisonous insect, seek medical help as soon as possible.
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