Summertime Stings and Bites: When To Go To The Doctor

Arkansans are hiking, and camping, and generally outdoors more in summertime, and they're also stung more, and bitten more by the dwellers of the outdoors.{}But, how to know when the bite needs medical attention?

You likely know the precautions: avoid being out near dawn or dusk, don't go into the woods with open-toed shoes, and spray on some repellant that contains deet. But, if you still become the target of the winged or crawling insect or spider, most of the time, there's no problem. However: "You need to look for symptoms that are moving away from the bite, so, you've got a rash that's moving away from the bite. A severe pain that's moving away. Swelling of the extremity. Breathing problems, would indicate that's it's something more severe than you can treat at home," says Dr. Beth Milligan with Baptist Health Family Clinics.

She{}says most bites and stings don't require medical attention. But, there are some disease carrying ticks, dangerous spiders, and venomous snakes lurking in nature, and she says, if you're bitten by a snake, go ahead and get to a doctor as a precaution. And whatever you do, don't treat it yourself using over the counter remedies.

"These are products that are mainly for people that are going to travel in the Amazon and places and then it's very restricted when you would use an extractor or bite kit. These should not be used for routine snake bites," she says.

{}Using an extractor requires cutting the skin, and Doctor Milligan says that could lead to infection, and if you're bitten by a snake in Arkansas, you have plenty of time to get to a doctor. {}She says Arkansans rarely die from a snake bite.