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Department Secretary,
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IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL: 631.427.7250

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Letter from the Chief-Summer Bites and Stings: Prevention Tips

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dear Neighbors,

It's summer and we are loving being outside, but now come the inevitable bites and stings from everything that flies and crawls. Because we don't live in an area with many poisonous snakes, most bites and stings will be minor irritations. But for some, even those can become a serious, even life-threatening problem. If, after being bitten, you experience any of the following, you should call for an ambulance (427-7250) immediately:
. If you have trouble breathing
. Feelings of faintness or dizziness
. Hives
. A swollen tongue
. Or a history of severe allergic reaction to insect stings

If you don't experience any of the above problems after being bitten, here are some ideas to keep in mind:

For Bee Stings-
. Remove the stinger by scrapping the area with a fingernail or the edge of a credit card.
. Do not use tweezers. This could result in more venom injected
. Ice the affected area
. If you were bitten on an arm or leg, elevate it
. Remove tight-fitting jewelry from the area. Swelling might be a problem later.

For Mosquitos-
. Use an insect repellent. Spray it on your clothing and all exposed skin.
. When possible, wear long sleeves and slacks.
. Avoid peak mosquito hours (dusk and dawn)
. Drain any standing water around your home. That's where mosquitos lay their eggs.
. Repair or install screens
. Report dead birds to the police. Dead birds may be a sign that West Nile virus is circulating between birds and mosquitos in your area.

For Jellyfish stings-
. Get out of the water
. The American Red Cross recommends washing the area with seawater to deactivate the stinging cells.
. Use a mild hydrocortisone or oral antihistamine to relieve itching and swelling.

For spider bites-
Only a few spiders are dangerous to humans, and of those, only two live in the United States: the black widow and the brown recluse spiders. Both prefer warm dark places like crawl spaces, closets, under sinks, and woodpiles. If bitten by a spider, it's important to try to identify the spider (use Google). If it is either a black widow or brown recluse, you should quickly get to a doctor or call for an ambulance if you are alone. For all other spider bites (and most spiders don't bite), follow these tips:
. Clean the wound with soap and water
. Apply a cool compress
. If bitten on an arm or leg, elevate it.
. Aspirin, acetaminophens, or antihistamines may be used to relieve minor signs and symptoms in adults.

Stay Safe!
Dan McConnell
Chief of Department




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