Stinging Insects

| March 6, 2017

Bees, hornets, fire ants and wasps usually present only a minor hazard to workers, but they can be fatal for workers with allergies. The best ways to avoid these hazards are to avoid getting stung in the first place.

Smart precautions include avoiding fragrant cologne, perfume, soap, perfume or deodorant, as the smells can attract insects. Good clothing can also help, including wearing light-colored clothing with long sleeves. Often times, the real hazard is from the surprise of being stung. A sting while working with power tools, for example, can cause a much more catastrophic injury than the sting itself.

If stung, remove the stinger if it is stuck in the skin, ice the area to reduce swelling, and use medications to control pain. If the stung worker has hives, trouble breathing, or feels faint, call 911, as this can be a sign of a potentially fatal allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock. If you are severely allergic to these insects, it is wise to carry an epinephrine injector and to wear medical alert jewelry, such as a necklace, bracelet or anklet.

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