We have to be careful of bugs bites and stings during summer outdoor activities. You have to be especially aware of wasps, hornets, bees and ticks.
Anaphylactic shock and SFTS (Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome) caused by allergic reactions passed by bugs could be fatal.
Let's be careful of wasps, stinging bees, exotic organisms like fire ants, and mosquitoes which can cause malaria or dengue fever.
Anaphylactic shock People who have already been stung should be very careful!
A wasp or bee sting can be fatal. This is due to the wasps/bees venom.
You may experience a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is caused by an overreaction of your immune system to an allergen, or something your body is allergic to. As a result, their immune system releases chemicals that flood the body in a very short time. This can lead to anaphylactic shock.
When a wasp stings you for the first time, and the venom enters your body, your immune system makes antibodies. These antibodies metabolizing the poison doesn't let us feel itchiness or swelling.
However, this antibody stays in your body and if you are stung again, the antibody might react very severely.
You can have anaphylactic shock even if the first and the second sting are not carried out by the same bug, such as a hornet, or a paper wasp. If you have been stung even once by a wasp/bee, you have to check if you have any antibodies by having a blood test.
If the result is positive, it's better to have with you an « Epinephrine self-injection » in case of a new sting.
Anaphylactic shock occurs even with fire ant stings
We have to be very careful of « Fire ants » which invaded Japan recently.
They are 2 to 6 mm long and are red colored. Its peculiarity is the 2 knots between its breast and abdomen. If you encounter them, do not try to catch them but please contact the local town hall or the Ministry of the Environment's local environment office.
Infectious disease transmitted by ticks
3~4 mm ticks are big enough to be seen with naked eyes. Their habitats are usually woods and grass land. When they suck our blood, we can be infected by the viral pathogen.
Incubation period is 5-14 days. After that, the signs/symptoms are high fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea, bloody stool.
No specific therapeutics are currently available. Some conservative treatment can only be applied to reduce symptoms.
Furthermore, there is Lyme disease which is common in the northern part of Honshu (Japan's main Island) and Japan spotted fever mainly in the west part of the country. Incubation period of Lyme disease is 10~14 days after the bite of ticks. A big red rash appears on the bitten spot and the symptoms are fever, muscle pain, joint pain, etc. After an incubation period of 2~8 days for the Japan spotted fever, the symptoms are red rash all over the body, fever, headache, malaise.
Prevention: Clothes, anti-bugs, check
Wear light-colored clothes and light-colored bags
As Wasps/bees have the habit to react and attack dark colored things, we recommend you to wear light-colored clothes and use light-colored bags. It is also easier to spot if there is a tick or centipede on light-colored clothing.
Avoid exposing your skin
Wear long sleeves, long pants, a hat, gloves, a towel around the neck to avoid exposing your skin as much as you can. This is very effective to prevent bug bites and stings. Even if you are stung by a wasp/bee, the dart will not reach the skin.
Avoid perfumes and hair dressing products
You need to be careful of perfumes and hair dressing products, because they excite and attract bugs.
Fix your sleeves and the bottom of your pants
To avoid bugs entering through the little bit of space, fix your sleeves and the bottom of your pants with a rubber band.
Put an insect repellant all over your body
In insect repellants, there are often some ingredients that insects don't like.
It's more efficient if you spray it over your clothes or shoes. For the face or the neck, use your hands and take appropriate precautions to avoid to have the product in your eyes. Be aware of some products which are not suited for children, or which have limited number of use. It's essential to check the instructions before.
For bees/wasps, insect repellants are not useful.
If you encounter a bees/wasps nest, leave the place calmly.
Check if you have a bug on you before entering the house
To avoid having bugs inside the house, thoroughly check yourself, and children to see if there are bugs or not. Change your clothes immediately.
How to treat bites and stings from insects and bugs?
It's important to treat the bites or stings of bugs as soon as possible. In case of bees, if the stinger stays in the skin, you have to remove it. If you have a venom self-extractor, extract the venom. Wash the bites or sting with water, cool the affected area and apply an over-the-counter cream (antihistamines).
When a tick bites you, do not remove it. If you remove it, the tick's feeding parts can cause skin reactions, such as growths called granuloma. Seek medical attention (dermatologist) if you are bitten by a tick. Be sure to remove all the feeding parts of the tick.