Practically all of us have a story about an unpleasant encounter with a spider, bee, wasp, or snake. In 2011, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that the 57 poison control centers in the United States received over 66,000 calls for bites or venom poisoning (envenomations). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that bites and stings from insects, spiders, or bees caused 25 deaths in the same year. Agricultural, forestry, and fishing workers are at high risk for bites and stings because they typically spend more time outdoors or working near the habitats of venomous critters.
The best way to prevent a bite or sting is to be aware of the critters’ homes and follow some simple avoidance strategies. Because each venomous critter lives in a different environment, the recommendations vary.
Even when you are armed with habitat and avoidance information, a bite or sting can occur. Your next best option is to identify what bit or stung you and perform wound first aid.
Free resources are available from the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education to help. The Bites, Stings and Venomous Things tip booklet covers venomous critter identification, sting symptoms, and wound first aid for caterpillars, insects, millipedes, scorpions, snakes, and spiders. Colorful pictures, sting symptoms, and facts about typical behavior help you figure out what the culprit was and what to do next. Click HERE to access the resource in Spanish.
2011 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 29th Annual Report; https://aapcc.s3.amazonaws.com/pdfs/annual_reports/2011_NPDS_Annual_Report.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0267.pdf.
Bites, Stings and Venomous Things Tip Booklet (pdf): http://www.swagcenter.org/files/pdf/swagcenter_bsvt_english_rev_2015-jun....
Bug Bites and Stings: http://www.medicinenet.com/bug_bites_and_stings/article.htm