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Caring for Stings, Bites and Mysterious Rashes

caring for stings, bites and rashes while traveling

Whether at home or on the road, problems with the epidermis are inevitable. Stings, bites, rashes, and I guess we could throw in mild burns, are even more nerve wracking while traveling because you may be caught off guard in a foreign land, which can add to the stress of the situation. In this post, we will talk about how to care for such things.

Pre-trip planning

The best way to avoid a stressful and unnecessarily painful situation is to plan ahead of time. If you have severe allergies, for example, you should be prepared to deal with them. Severely allergic to bees? Make sure you have that EpiPen with you. In general, there are a few things you should have with you regardless of whether or not you have a severe allergy. They are as follows:

  • Benadryl – Chemical name diphenhydramine, Benadryl is one of the most commonly used antihistamines on the market. It will never hurt to pop a Benadryl after getting a bite or sting. It may not be enough in some instances (see box jellyfish. Actually, don’t see them, they can kill you), but in most, it will likely do you a world of good.
  • A topical cream with a steroid in it – Topical creams like hydrocortisone have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with skin reactions in a number of different instances.
  • An anti-inflammatory medication – Ibuprofen is the most widely used and it will do the job as an anti-inflammatory. Again, this might not save the day, but it can only help.

Now that you have your toolkit, how should you react when that wasp stings you 5 times?

Dealing with bites, stings and rashes

1. Get away from that wasp. Run if you have to, but find somewhere where you can exist without getting stung.

2. Clean your wound(s) (ok, sting, bite, whatever) with soap and water and apply some ice if you have access to it. This will immediately reduce the impact of whatever it was that attacked you.

3. Get out your toolkit and load up. Take the Benadryl, take the ibuprofen, apply the topical cream, and you’ll be golden, provided it wasn’t a black mamba or a deathstalker scorpion or a box jellyfish or a .. you get it .. that stung you.

4. If you have a severe reaction, seek medical help immediately. If you are having difficulty breathing, if you are dizzy, if you are whole body is turning into a throbbing red rash, if your lips are swelling up and if you are having nausea and cramps – you need help and help in the form of hydrocortisone, ibuprofen and Benadryl might not be enough. Get yourself to a medical center as soon as possible. In the meantime, avoid panic and try to remain calm. If you have taken the Benadryl, there should be at least somewhat of an anti-allergy effect, depending on what has stung you.

Lingering cases and mystery rashes

When it comes to mysterious rashes and marks that seem to go and come, don’t just assume that everything is fine or that whatever it is will pass. Go to a doctor and have a proper physical examination. Some diseases, such as Lyme disease, can produce bizarre symptoms and they become harder to treat if they are left to fester. So, if you have a mysterious rash, go get it checked out, even if it’s not causing any other noticeable symptoms at the time.

Photo credit: flickr user pluckytree

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