Fight against bites.

Fight against bites.

As spring’s blooms come colourfully to life, there’s no better time to dust off the gardening tools or pick up that hobby again. As the days get longer (and warmer), we spend more time outdoors.

Whether it’s creating garden artistry, hosting a good old backyard barbie or a beach day, Australian spring and summer is synonymous with the great outdoors… and with it, bees and insects.

It’s important to educate yourself about biting insects such as mosquitoes, sand flies (midges), bedbugs, ticks and fleas. Insects inject saliva into our skin while feeding, causing an allergic reaction. A red, inflamed, itchy and swollen spot on the skin.

Stinging insects, on the other hand, such as ants, bees, wasps and spiders inject venom when they bite. This leads to pain and swelling, but also severe itching, nausea, vomiting, and anaphylaxis. In some cases, these stings can be fatal. At National Pharmacies, the wisdom is prevention is better than cure. So, how can you avoid insect bites and stings? There’s a few ways.

If you’re spending time outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, apply topical insect repellents and cover your skin with loose, light-coloured clothing. Love camping? Don’t forget the mosquito net and use citronella coils. Back at home, install insect screens on all doors and windows.

To prevent those serious stings, always wear shoes, even when you’re on grass. Dining outdoors? Lucky you, but make sure you only bring out the food when you’re ready to eat. Don’t leave it sitting out there, attracting insects. If you leave your jacket or any clothes outside overnight, insect-inspect it before wearing it.


If you have to treat a sting or bite, here’s what you can do:

  • Step 1: Immediately apply Stingose (aluminium sulphate) to reduce the pain, inflammation and itch
  • Step 2: For pain-relief, use analgesics such as paracetamol (Panadol) and ibuprofen (Nurofen). For the itch, apply creams or gels that contain lignocaine – a local anaesthetic – or take an antihistamine tablet. Pull out an icepack or bag of frozen peas to reduce the swelling.
  • Step 3: Determine whether you need to seek help. If the symptoms don’t improve in a few days (or get worse), visit your doctor. If you’ve been stung on the mouth or throat, struggling to breathe, your face is swollen or feel faint, seek medical help immediately. If you’d like additional information about insect bites and stings, please ask your friendly National Pharmacies pharmacist.


The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and should be used as a guide only. This information does not replace or substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before any action is taken based on the content of this webpage.

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