Ambulance crews called out for wasp stings

The ambulance service received 15 emergency 999 calls from people had been stung by wasps or bees on Wednesday (August 7).

Sunday, 11th August 2013, 11:00 am
Health

None of the calls were from people who had suffered a severe allergic reaction to the sting and no one required transport to hospital or further treatment from ambulance crews.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is asking people to think before calling 999 when they get bitten or stung.

Marcus Bailey, Consultant Paramedic for EEAST, said: “Most insect bites and stings, although they can be painful, are not dangerous and can be treated at home. In order to help reduce the volume of 999 calls and to improve the availability of ambulances to those members of the public who are suffering from serious illnesses and injuries, we’re urging people to consider whether their sting is really an emergency.

“In the majority of cases, stings can be treated at home in the first instant. If your symptoms persist over several days then we’d advise you to contact your GP. Alternatively your local pharmacist may be able to advise you further on what treatment would be best for you.”

EEAST has issued some basic tips on how to treat bites and stings at home in order to help reduce the 999 calls they receive on the issues.

Marcus said: “To treat a bite or sting at home, try washing it with water and applying a cold compress to help reduce itchiness and swelling. For bee stings, you can remove the sting itself with tweezers. If it’s painful, over-the-counter tablets such as antihistamines and paracetamol can help. There are also creams and sprays available at the pharmacist.

“Naturally there are some cases when someone will suffer a severe allergic reaction to a sting. If there is swelling or itching anywhere else on the body after being bitten or stung, or if the person is wheezing or have difficulty swallowing, they may need emergency medical treatment so it’s vital in these cases that 999 is dialled as soon as possible.”

EEAST receives more than 2,500 calls a day over the six counties that it covers. It has three Health and Emergency Operation Centres (HEOCs) which run 24 hours a day handling a wide range of emergency calls from cardiac arrests, road traffic collisions, strokes, and many more.

For more information on when to dial 999 and alternative options to calling 999, visit: http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/about-us/999-service.htm