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INSECT BITES


Some bites respond to an alkaline solution of bicarbonate of soda, soda water or baking soda - whereas others respond better to an acid solution such as vinegar - but solutions should be applied diluted in water in either case.  If the bite responds better to alkaline, then try washing with a weak dilution of soda and water and then cover the bite with a paste made from some bicarbonate of soda/baking soda mixed with a little water.  I know here in Surfer's Paradise the life savers put vinegar on the blue-bottle stings when people are bitten whilst swimming in the ocean (usually when there are northerly winds blowing).

MY EXPERIENCE

I have found homeopathic Apis, which is homeopathic bee sting to be extremely effective for all insect bites in general as it helps with the redness, swelling and itch, so unless I state otherwise in articles then you would always choose it and then add or alternate with any others I mention, if you are constantly or daily exposed to insects such as mosquito you may even want to try a dose of Apis once a day as a preventative.  I was bitten by five paper-wasps while hanging the clothes on the line many years ago, the pain was agonising.  I remembered I had some homeopathic Apis in the cupboard so I ran inside and had one dose.  I swear, within ten seconds the pain had almost gone, it never really swelled much and there was hardly any itch afterwards.  I hadn't been a Homeopath very long when this happened and I remember thinking to myself, almost in surprise, "Wow, this stuff really works!!"  It is definately one remedy I would keep in my homeopathic first-aid kit.

The other one that people my age will remember is the old "blue-bag" used in with our white washing to keep them white!  There was always one in our laundry sink and it worked beautifully applied to insect bites - and the main ingredient was baking soda wrapped in muslin!  Daily doses od Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) works well for some people as a preventative but if you are going to take it longer than two weeks then you should also take a B complex supplement with it as you shouldn't take a single group B vitamin by itself for longer than 2 weeks.

ANT BITES

Ant bites can be serious or even fatal depending on the person and the type of ant.  It is not just the ant bite that can cause a problem, it can be as the result of scratching.  It can become itchy quite some time after being bitten  and when you then scratch you can introduce harmful bacteria into the wound where you have scratched the top off it.  Wash with soda water and then apply some soda paste after being bitten and have a dose of low potency Apis, every few minutes.  A slice of cucumber or some Aloe Vera may help soothe it or a slice of onion or garlic directly on it, replacing it every few minutes.

BEE/WASP/HORNET etc STINGS

Firstly make sure you extract the sting as it has a barb on the end of it and this is where the poison sack is.  Bathe where you have been bitten with a strong solution of equal parts salt and soda.   A slice of onion placed on the bite and changed every few minutes will help with the pain.  Don't forget the homeopathic Apis 30c every few minutes till symptoms ease if needed.  Non-allergic symptoms such as redness, swelling and pain are all common after being bitten by a bee.  Once the pain has eased you might want to apply a paste of equal parts salt and soda.  Don't forget these stings can be deadly to some people and they can go into Anaphylaxis so please seek medical attention urgently if the person appears to be in distress or having breathing difficulties or dizziness.

BED-BUGS

Bed bugs feed on human blood and can live up to a year without feeding!  They are commonly found in beds and matresses and can infect whole houses or hostels.  They also often hide in luggage, and pillows on plane flights are another source.  Oh boy, I have had a personal experience with these little guys after buying an innocent looking bedside cabinet from a cheap Asian Furniture store.  I was waking up covered in these tiny little dots, which turned out to be where I was being bitten, and little blood marks all over the sheets.  It took many weeks to work out what the problem was, but as it turned out that was the easy part.  I had a beautiful expensive timber Balinese sleigh bed and by the time I figured out what the problem was, the bugs had gotten into all the little nooks and crannies in the timber bed frame also.  I couldn't get rid of them.  The short answer was to to throw out my beautiful bed, wish I had have known about the kerosene in those days

If you have the unfortunate experience of camping out somewhere where there are bedbugs then spraying Kerosene is a good one getting rid of them especially when they get into the cracks in the wood, but unfortunately that wouldn't be an option if you smoke in bed!!  Obviously if it involves spraying where there are children or the chance of fire you wouldn't use it but never the less it is very effective if all else fails.  A herbal spray consisting of Lavender and Rosemary Oils may prove effective in repelling these little critters both by spraying on the problem areas and adding 1ml or 20 drops of them to the final rinse of sheets etc - bearing in mind that oil and water don't mix so emulsify it first by adding them to a spoon of milk before pouring into the rinse water.  Obviously don't spray essential oils directly onto anything a baby may come in contact with.  Apis is effective if left itch and with welts after being bitten.

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FLEA BITES

Soda paste will give relief.  If you have a flea problem in the house then get some moth balls and crush them and put the powder inside your quilt cover and sprinkle it on the floor and bed etc as fleas don't like naphthaline which is what the moth balls are made of.  During a three month period, one female flea can produce up to 20,000 eggs that only take three to six weeks for each batch to hatch!!, so keep floors scrubbed and animals away from under the house as fleas breed in dust and dirt.  Eat garlic in your diet and if your pet will eat garlic then put some in his diet as the odour that will come from your skin will keep fleas away, or you can prick a garlic oil capsule and put that on his food.

You can try a homeopathic formula of Ledum pal, Sulphur and Apis in either 6c, 12c, or 30c every ten minutes for both pets and humans.  Try growing some Chrysanthemum flowers flowers in your garden when they are in season, as they are a natural source of pyrethrum which is an insecticide.  Eucalyptus leaves are a natural repellant also so maybe grow a Eucalyptus tree in the back yard if you have animals.  You could also try shampooing yourself and any animals in a wash containing eucalyptus, rosemary, bergamont, lavendar and or geranium oils.

HEAD LICE

Prevention is better than having to try an eradicate a bout of head-lice or "nits" as they are commonly referred to as - the nits are actually the lice eggs.  Not everyone who has head lice will scratch their heads because of it being itchy, though one of the first signs is usually an extremely scalp and they tend to like the warmer areas behind the ears, base of the neck and the crown.  You will usually find the lice eggs which are very tiny and white, close to the scalp and as head lice emit a sticky substance while laying the eggs, the eggs won't just brush out easily or fly out but tossing your hair about. 

Head lice don't jump or fly and can only be transmitted from head to head by direct head contact so tell your kids to keep their head away from other kids heads whilst at school.  Head lice will die within forty-five minutes of hatching if they don't have access to your blood to feed on, which is another reason they are found very close to your scalp and not up the hair shaft itself.  Like humans, they need to feed 3-4 times a day.  Normal shampoo and washing your hair won't kill head lice.  The sticky substance that they emit helps them to adhere to the hair shaft and they are not going anywhere in a hurry!  They can also "hold their breath' so to speak, by shutting down their spiracles (little holes in their body) whilst under water.  Stubborn, resilient little critters aren't they!!

  • Wearing a hat when in the playground to avoid direct hair contact is a good idea - just make sure they put their own hat on and not the hat belonging to some kid who has head lice
  • Hairspray sprayed on a tight plait is a good idea to stop "fly-away" hair and keep it in place
  • Add a few drops of water-soluble tea-tree oil to your normal daily shampoo
  • Try filling a spray-water bottle with water and adding a few drops of each of the essential oils rosemary, tea-tree, peppermint and lavender and spray on hair, hats and combs daily before school and sport. 

You have to repeat head lice treatment at least once, because the first wash/removal will get the nits but often not the unhatched eggs and once they hatch the problem will start all over again.  You will need a special metal head-lice comb that has extremely fine close together teeth so the can't slip between them.  Try swamping the kids heads with a cheap conditioner once a week and combing it through in sections with the special comb, as this makes the hair slippery and easier to pull the comb through, especially thick hair and the head lice won't be able to "stick' to the hair shaft.  If you don't have hair lice at least you will have well conditioned hair!

  • Apparently head lice can't breathe in oil so essential oils  are a good one - make a base of olive oil, say a cup, and add a few drops of peppermint oil and a few drops of tea-tree oil and rub it well into the scalp, remembering the eggs are near the scalp not out along the hair shaft - this should suffocate the little critters!
  • White vinegar undiluted works well to dissolve the sticky substance that adheres the eggs to the hair shaft.  Pour lots, a whole litre even, of  straight white vinegar over the head massaging it into the scalp.  Leave it soak in for a few minutes and then smother in cheap  conditioner and comb the hair through in sections with the head lice comb
  • Rosemary

Bearing in mind that the lice can shut down their spiracles for hours if needed it is probably a good idea if doing the olive oil headbath to leave it on overnight under a showercap. and make sure you always use the proper comb. 

MOSQUITO BITES

Apparently mosquitos are attracted to up to one in ten people and it is only the female mosquito that bites us as she needs blood to develop fertile eggs.  It is now established scientific fact that our genetic make-up is responsible for eighty-five percent of people being susceptible to mosquito bites with mosquitos being able to smell their "human lunches" from up to fifty metres away!  Scientists are discovering that mosquitos are attracted to high carbon dioxide emission so people who are larger as well as pregnant women have increased risk of being bitten.  People exercising outdoors are therefore more at risk of being bitten as not only are they emitting increased levels of carbon dioxide but they are also naturally producing increased amounts of lactic acid which is also a proven aphrodisiac to the mosquitos.

This is an interesting old remedy that will work for some people - rub soap on your hands, try sunlight laundry soap, before bed to help prevent mosquitos troubling you through the night.  Lemon juice applied to the bites will give some relief.  A mix of Lavender Oil and Aloe vera will be very soothing to the skin and help the redness.  Apis is excellent.  A mixture of diluted oils sprayed on yourself will help deter the mosquitos with the most useful being lemon-scented eucalyptus, pennyroyal, citronella, cedar and castor oil all in a base or carrier such as glycerine, jojoba, coconut or almond oil and are generally considered safe for use on adults or children over 3 years of age.  Some people find planting neem trees and spraying a mix of diluted Neem oil outside helps with mosquito control.   Try a B1 (thiamine) tablet a day, as discussed earlier, because the mosquitos don't like the taste of it in some people.  Don't forget that diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis and Ross River Fever are transmitted by mosquitos so I personally don't put all my faith in only natural remedies when travelling to places where I am going to be exposed to outbreaks of these diseases - there is a place and time for everything. 

TICK BITES

 There are 800 species worldwide and it is not the tick bite itself that causes the problems, it is the poison, organisms or secretions that the tick injects into our systems through it's saliva that is the trouble.  The ticks that attach to humans can feed for hours to days once they become attached to us, with our greatest chance of contracting a disease coming after they have become full of our blood near the end of them feeding.  Some species of ticks can become full of our blood within one minute of feeding on us. Tick-related disease outbreaks are usually seasonal with mild winters followed by an early spring often resulting in an increased number of ticks and they are more commonly found in low bush and scrub.  The tick's mouth has barbs that enable it to attach to us and burrow into our skin where it begins feeding, first secreting saliva, to which some people can be allergic.  The saliva may also contain a blood thinner that makes it easier for them to feed on our blood.  Most tick bites don't result in immediate symptoms or pain and it can therefore be days or weeks before you notice any problems such as local redness, itching or burning and rarely causes paralysis or breathing difficulties. 

Once it has been established that you have or had a tick bite the first thing to do is make sure that the tick is no longer attached and feeding, and has indeed dropped off.  Due to the fact that a tick transfers organisms into your blood when it is feeding on your blood, you may be left with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Palpitations
  • Headache
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Flu-ike symptoms
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Pain and swelling in the joints
  • Shortness of breath

and it would indeed be wise to consult with your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms and especially if you are pregnant or immune compromised.  We are seeing a lot more Lyme Disease these days in our practice which may vary in symptom presentation from mild to serious, long-term disabilities if left untreated, with the earliest symptom being a rash at the site of the tick bite.

I see quite a few people who live in tick infested areas in our Hinterland and have found a combination of homeopathic tick nosode combined with Apis 30c and Ledum Pal  once a day to be a useful preventative and also to help with symptoms if they have indeed already been bitten.  Try spraying yourself with a mix of 1ml Rose Geranium Oil mixed with 40 Almond Oil before walking in the bush and keep re-applying to hopefully help prevent the tick from attaching.  Ticks don't like citrus so maybe have some citrus peel/juice on hand or in your pocket.  After being bitten and the tick's head has been removed you will find a mix of Lavender Oil, Aloe Vera and Apple Cider Vinegar to be soothing.

IN SUMMARY

Whilst anaphylactic shock is a rare and very severe reaction to being bitten or stung, bites can be a serious event, so if you experience any breathing difficulties or in are in doubt please seek MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Specific remedies to be given every 15 minutes for up to 6 doses:

  • Rapid swelling - Apis 30c
  • Redness and burning - Cantharis 30c
  • Shooting pains in affected limb - Hypericum 30c
  • Swelling, bruising and pain - Arnica 30c
  • Purple discoloration around bite - Lachesis 6c

 

Date posted: 2013-11-12 | posted by: debras




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