Bee Stings. What to do if you or a family member has been stung by a bee. Bee stings can be very serious and even deadly for those that are allergic. But how do you know if you’re allergic? Allergy skin tests and allergy blood tests are often used together to diagnose insect allergies. Your doctor may also want to test you for allergies to yellow jackets, hornets and wasps — which can cause allergic reactions similar to those of bee stings. If you've had a reaction to bee stings that suggests you might be allergic to bee venom, your doctor may suggest one or both of the following tests:
- Skin test. During skin testing, a small amount of allergen extract (in this case, bee venom) is injected into the skin of your arm or upper back. This test is safe and won't cause any serious reactions. If you're allergic to bee stings, you'll develop a raised bump on your skin at the test site.
- Allergy blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to bee venom by measuring the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.
- Remove the stinger as soon as you can, as it takes only seconds for all of the venom to enter your body. Get the stinger out any way you can, such as with your fingernails or a tweezer.
- Wash the sting area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. You might try ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Children's Motrin, others) to help ease discomfort.
- If the sting is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease redness, itching or swelling.
- If itching or swelling is bothersome, take an oral antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton).
- Avoid scratching the sting area. This will worsen itching and swelling and increase your risk of infection.
Coloradans are known to love hiking, being outside and getting into the mountains. Colorado also has ticks, which can cause problems to our health, including Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in these regions, Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. You're more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease thrive. It's important to know the signs and symptoms and take common-sense precautions in tick-infested areas. According to the Mayo Clinic the following signs and symptoms are often common with Lyme disease.
Signs and Symptoms:Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary. They usually appear in stages, but the stages can overlap.
Stage 1: Early signs and symptomsA small, red bump, similar to the bump of a mosquito bite, often appears at the site of a tick bite, or often the actual tick will be in the place of the bite. A tick removal and red bum often resolves over a few days. This normal occurrence doesn't indicate Lyme disease. However, these signs and symptoms can occur within a month after you've been infected:
- Rash. From three to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bull's-eye pattern. The rash (Erythema migrans) expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches (30 centimeters) across. It's typically not itchy or painful but might feel warm to the touch.
- Erythema migrans is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease, although not everyone with Lyme disease develops the rash. Some people develop this rash at more than one place on their bodies.
- Other symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes can accompany the rash.
Stage 2: Later signs and symptomsIf you do have Lyme disease and it goes untreated untreated, new signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear in the following weeks to months. These include:
- Erythema migrans. The rash may appear on other areas of your body.
- Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
- Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell's palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
When to see your doctorIf you've been bitten by a tick and have symptoms Only a minority of tick bites leads to Lyme disease. The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of getting the disease. Lyme infection is unlikely if the tick is attached for less than 36 to 48 hours. If you think you've been bitten and have signs and symptoms of Lyme disease — particularly if you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent — contact your doctor. Treatment for Lyme disease is more effective if begun early. See your doctor even if symptoms disappear Consult your doctor even if signs and symptoms disappear — the absence of symptoms doesn't mean the disease is gone. Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of your body for several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems. Ticks can also transmit other illnesses, such as babesiosis and Colorado tick fever.
We’re in full swing - Summer! While sunny skies and warm temperatures do more than make our environment a pleasant place. They also provide some very significant benefits to our health and wellbeing. Sunlight helps to regulate almost all our bodily processes, as well as acting as psychological encouragement to improve our lifestyle. Here are a few more reasons summer is great for your health:
- There are Reduced Rates of Heart Attacks in the Summer Research indicates that you are less likely to die of a heart attack in the summer than in the winter. In a study of almost 11,000 people who had heart attacks over a period of nine years, survival rate increased by 19 per cent if the attack occurred in the summer. Higher levels of Vitamin D - which is synthesised by sunlight - are also thought to play a protective part in those who suffer heart attacks.
- People eat more fruit Rising temperatures and increased availability of summer fruits make it easier to fulfil the recommended quota of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. They also boost the immune system and, because of their low calorie content, help with weight loss.
- Relieves skin complaints Controlled exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can have a therapeutic effect on skin complaints such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis.
- Increases agility The summer is an excellent time to begin an exercise programme. Not only do summer clothes provide an incentive to get the body in shape, but the feel-good factor created by sunlight boosts our enthusiasm to begin a fitness regime. Exercise is not only the most effective way to burn up excess calories, but also improves the vital flow of oxygen to the brain, lowering stress levels and improving powers of concentration.
- Increases our water consumption Water is vital to thousands of chemical processes that take place in the body's cells to enable it to function. These include promoting digestion, regulating body temperature, improving the health and vitality of our skin and flushing toxins from the body. In the summer months we are more inclined to drink the recommended two litres of water a day needed for optimum health.
- Helps to regulate sleep disorders Waking up to the sun and getting early-morning exposure to its light can help those suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia. This is because sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of sunlight between 7am and 9am each morning to help those who have problems getting to sleep at night.
It's hot! In Colorado, many try to beat that summer heat with air conditioning units or swamp coolers. Wether it's at the office or in your home, many often wonder how we would survive without air conditioning (AC). Many people turn on the AC as soon as the temperature rises above 70 degrees, or whenever the heat starts making you uncomfortable. But did you know that turning on the AC can be harmful to your health? Poorly-maintained or older AC units have been shown to spread disease and cause health conditions such as respiratory conditions. With it being everywhere during hot summer months it is important to maintain your unit and protect indoor air quality (as well as yourself). Additional Reasons AC Unit can Cause Poor Air Quality:
- Most residential units recirculate indoor air to save energy
- When basic maintenance such as changing the filters is not performed, airflow is restricted throughout the space
- Dirty air filters will not stop allergens, pesticides and other outside irritants from entering your home
- Window units that are not properly sealed let in outside air, undermining the work of the unit
- Make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or changing your unit's air filters
- Open the windows as much as you can. Allow fresh air to circulate in your home and flush out pollutants
- Have an HVAC technician perform annual maintenance checks
- Buy a new AC unit every 10 years
- Turn the temperature up, or turn the unit off altogether, at night or when the house is empty
- Try using the fan-only mode on your AC unit