Outdoor Tips for Volunteers
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Even though summer is winding down, it seems as though every bug that flies and crawls is still out and about. As you plan for summer picnics, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities at your not for profit organization, be prepared for encountering bugs. Here are some tips on how to recognize, treat and avoid common bug bites and stings experienced by employees and volunteers.
Identifying Bites and Stings
- Bees and wasps—The site of a bee or wasp sting will be red, swollen and possibly painful or itchy. Remove the stinger carefully with a scraping motion to avoid injecting further venom, and then disinfect the area. To reduce swelling, apply ice. Acetaminophen can be used to reduce the pain.
- Ants—Ant stings produce itchy lumps, followed by blisters within a few hours. Disinfect the area, and to avoid a bacterial infection, don’t break the blister.
- Mosquitoes—Mosquito bites cause red, itchy bumps. To relieve the itching, apply calamine lotion. For severe swelling, an oral antihistamine can be used.
- Ticks—Ticks are often embedded in the skin. If a tick is no longer present, the area around the bite may be red. To remove a tick, place tweezers at its head where it’s attached to the skin and gently pull. Disinfect the area.
Seeking Medical Attention
If any of your staff or volunteers exhibit any of the following symptoms, call for medical help immediately:
- Swelling larger than two inches in diameter around the bite site
- Swelling of the face, tongue or throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or heart palpitations
- Joint pain
- Muscle stiffness or spasms
- Rash or hives
- Fever, nausea or vomiting
- Severe headaches
Preventing Bites and Stings
- Limit exposure to high-risk environments such as marshes, stagnant water and heavily wooded areas
- Avoid outdoor activity during peak mosquito times (dawn, dusk or after a heavy rain)
- Ensure employees and volunteers wear light-colored protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeve shirts, socks and shoes
- Encourage caution when drinking from open beverage containers, and keep food covered to avoid ant, bee and wasp stings
- Keep window screens in good repair
- Promote the use of insect repellent, and use caution when around children
- Wise Use of the Emergency Room
- Good Day Sunshine: OSHA & Heat Index Safety
- The Unwanted Guest: Bedbugs and Other Pest Infestations
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