Take the sting out of summer

Prepare for all that the season brings


Linda DiBias

Jun 8, 2022

It’s time for outdoor adventures – maybe a nature hike, a dip in the pool or a relaxing backyard barbecue. Being prepared with some first aid basics can help you handle just about anything that comes your way.

1. Bee stings

If you’re stung by a bee or wasp:

• Remove the stinger immediately by scraping or brushing it off with a firm edge, such as a credit card.

• Wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold compress.

• Soothe itching with an oral antihistamine or calamine lotion.

• Be alert for signs of allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, or swelling of the lips, throat or face. Seek medical help immediately if someone appears to be having a severe or allergic reaction to a bee sting. Use an epinephrine auto-injector (if available) and call 911 right away. 1

2. Mosquito bites

Most mosquito bites do little more than cause itching, redness and general discomfort. For pesky bites, apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream or antihistamine. See a health care provider if you experience severe symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches and signs of infection. 2

3. Tick bites

If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it with tweezers and use antiseptic on the bite area. Contact your doctor if you’re unable to completely remove the tick or you have a rash that gets bigger (a bull’s-eye pattern may be a sign of Lyme disease). Also see your doctor if you develop flu-like symptoms or if the bite site looks like it’s infected. 3

4. Poison ivy

Take the following steps if you come in contact with poison ivy, poison sumac or poison oak.

• Rinse skin immediately with rubbing alcohol or soap and water

• Scrub under nails with a brush.

• Apply a cold, wet washcloth to the affected area.

• Soothe itching with an oatmeal bath, calamine lotion or an antihistamine.

Seek emergency medical help for signs of severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing or if a rash develops on the face or genitals. 4

1. WebMD. “Treatment of Bee and Wasp Stings.” https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/bee-and-wasp-stings-treatment#1. Page last reviewed/updated May 31, 2020.

2. Mayo Clinic. “Mosquito bites.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mosquito-bites/symptoms-causes/syc-20375310.Page last reviewed/updated September 15, 2020.

3. Mayo Clinic. “Tick bites: First aid.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-tick-bites/basics/art-20056671.Page last reviewed/updated October 22, 2019.

4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “POISON IVY, OAK, AND SUMAC: HOW TO TREAT THE RASH”. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/poison-ivy/treat-rash.Page last accessed May 18, 2021.


This is general health information and not medical advice or services. You should consult your doctor for medical advice or services, including seeking advice prior to undertaking a new diet or exercise program.

The article is brought to you by our partner in health, Cigna. All Cigna products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company or its affiliates. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. All pictures are used for illustrative purposes only.

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