Summer time is fun time, but it’s also prime time for injuries and accidents. In this issue of Connections, we take a look at preventing and coping with animal bites. In July, we’ll learn about heat stress and other summer hazards.

Dog Bites
4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and one in five dog bites results in
injuries that require medical attention. Children age 5-9 are the most common victims.
To prevent dog bites, teach children to follow these basic safety tips, and review them

• Do not approach an unfamiliar dog
• Do not run from a dog or scream
• Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog
• If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”)
• Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult
• Immediately report to an adult any stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior
• Avoid direct eye contact with a dog
• Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies
• Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first
• If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult
If bitten, wash immediately with soap and warm water and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Contact your doctor for further care instructions and for information on reporting requirements in your community.

Bee Stings
Most bee stings will hurt for a day or two but aren’t dangerous.

• Try to prevent stings by teaching children:
• Stay calm around bees; when bees are scared they attack
• Don’t swat at or run from bees; that scares them
• Avoid perfumes, lip balms and lotions that have a sweet, fruity or floral scent
• Keep food and drinks covered so they don’t attract bees
• Bees are drawn to bright “flowery” colors like yellow, pink, orange and red

If stung, don’t squeeze to get the stinger out. If the bee has left the stinger behind, as evidenced by blackish particles on the skin, try scraping these off with a credit card. Do not squeeze the stinger; venom still in the sac may get into your system. Wash with warm water and soap. Apply a paste made of meat tenderizer or baking soda and a few drops of water. If after a couple of days the sting site becomes hot, red, or has other signs of infection, consult a doctor.

If the sting victim has trouble breathing or has other extreme reactions, call 911. Allergies to bee stings can be fatal.
Mosquitos and Ticks

Mosquito and tick bites itch. Plus, mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus and ticks can transmit Lyme disease. Both diseases can be quite dangerous for small children, elderly adults, and people with compromised immune systems.

To prevent bites:
• Cover up. Clothing is a good barrier for insects
• Use insect repellant when in an area prone to these pests
• Do not use insect repellants on infants
• Ask a pediatrician for advice on protecting infants and small children
• Prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs near your home by eliminating standing water in flower pots, tires, unused birdbaths, etc.
• Check nightly for ticks and remove immediately; it can take a while for a tick to transmit enough bacteria to cause infection and this simple step may prevent disease. These areas are especially popular for ticks:
o Under the arms
o In and around the ears
o Back of the knees and between the legs
o Around the waist and inside the belly button
o In and around hair
If bitten:
• Mosquito bites can be treated with topical anti-itch cream and Benadryl
• Remove a tick by grasping it close to the head or mouth and pulling the whole thing gently straight out. Do not crush or “break” the tick. Kill it in a cotton swab soaked with rubbing alcohol, toss it in a fire, or flush it.
• Wash hands immediately after removing a tick. Clean the bite with rubbing alcohol.
• Watch tick or mosquito bite sites for unusual rashes or signs of infection.
• If the victim becomes ill within a few weeks of a bite, contact your doctor.

Snakes Bites
While rarer than dog bites, bee stings, or insect bites, snake bites can be just as—if not more—dangerous. Here are some basic guidelines for preventing and coping with snake bites.

To try to prevent snake bites:
• Encourage children not to pickup or play with garden or forest snakes.
• Avoid provoking a snake; if you cross paths with a snake, leave it alone
• Wear long pants or boots when hiking or working in tall grass
• Stay away from snake-infected areas at dusk and nighttime
• Be careful when handling rocks, logs, and other good hiding spots for snakes
• If you encounter a snake, do not run or move; snakes generally attack moving objects

If bitten:
• Remain calm; do not run
• Do not apply ice
• Do not remove venom; never suck or suction the wound
• Do not take medication to relieve pain
• Seek medical attention immediately

If a victim has been bitten by a snake not believed to be poisonous, but has any of these reactions, seek medical attention immediately: convulsions, dizziness, bloody
discharge, sweating, swelling, numbness, fever, muscle weakness, fainting.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Siegle is the writer and editor for Northwest Media, Inc., parent company of,, and This article is adapted from the newsletter, "Connections."