If you live in the College Station, TX area, bites and stings are not unusual. Even though your instinct may be to run when you get bitten or stung by something, it is important to know what the culprit might have been. That way, you can treat the issue appropriately. What are some of the most common animals that might bite or sting you in the local area?
Bee or Wasp
Some of the most common stings are from bees and wasps. You will feel a very sharp pinch, followed by immediate pain. When you inspect the area, you might see the stinger still visible penetrating the surface of the skin. Otherwise, a typical bee or wasp sting will quickly begin to look like a dark red dot surrounded by paler, raised skin about the size of a pencil eraser.
There are several treatment steps you should follow:
- If the stinger is visible (usually only with bee stings), try to remove it with a flat edge such as a credit card. Try to avoid slapping the area or squeezing the surface of the skin because you may force more venom to be released from the stinger into the skin.
- Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. This can help dilute or neutralize some of the toxin.
- Apply a cold pack to the area for approximately 20 minutes to reduce swelling or pain.
- Apply Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and/or Cortaid (hydrocortisone) to reduce itching.
- You should cover the area to keep it clean until it is healed in 3-4 days.
Rarely, a person may be allergic to the toxin injected during a bee or wasp sting which would cause symptoms such as a rash developing away from the sting site, swelling of the lips or tongue, wheezing or difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or even faintness and collapse. If you know you are allergic to bees or wasps, or begin developing these symptoms, you should call 911 right away. Any of these symptoms should also prompt you to take Benadryl by mouth, even if you have applied some Benadryl cream. If you are allergic, and have been prescribed an Epi-Pen (epinephrine) use it if the reaction involves anything more than a rash, then get paramedics on the way or get immediately to an emergency room even if your symptoms initially improve.
Scorpions are very common throughout Texas, including the college station area. You might find them underneath rocks and boards and they tend to be most active at night. Their toxin differs from bees and wasps and directly affects the nerves. Therefore, you may experience pain radiating away from the sting site, tingling, or even muscle twitching.
There is no antidote used for scorpion stings in Texas, so you should follow the same treatment steps for a scorpion sting as you would for a bee or wasp sting. If you are allergic to scorpions, you should similarly seek medical care right away.
Spiders: Black Widow and Brown Recluse
There are hundreds of species of spiders in Texas, but only two present any danger: the black widow spider and the brown recluse.
A black widow spider has a red hourglass pattern on its abdomen. Black widow spiders tend to hide in outdoor cavities, such as abandoned buildings and toilets. If you are bitten by the spider, the pain will become extremely intense in approximately one to two hours. Similar to scorpions, its poison contains a neurotoxin that travels through the nervous system, so symptoms can be diffuse. You might experience nausea, swelling of the eyelids, profuse perspiration, abdominal pain and vomiting. You should seek medical care for a black widow spider if any significant symptoms develop, particularly if the spider bit a young child.
A brown recluse spider typically lives in dry places, such as barns and closets. If you are bitten by a brown recluse spider, pain typically peaks in an hour or two. In contrast to a Black Widow, the brown recluse venom only acts locally. Usually, there is just a small area of redness, swelling, and pain or itching, and no treatment is necessary. Rarely, in more severe bites, the venom causes the tissue surrounding the bite location to decay and die. Seek medical evaluation if significant symptoms develop around the areas of the bite. If the symptoms remain localized and mild, treat as with a bee or wasp sting.
Seek Medical Care From CapRock Health If Bitten or Stung
These are just a few of the most common examples of animals that might sting or bite in College Station, Texas. If you have questions or concerns about a sting or bite, contact CapRock Health!