by Joe Gural, Safety Manager, Danella Power Services, Inc.
Spring and warmer weather is just around the corner. With the increase in temperature, insect activity also surges. Many insects can pose health threats to us, including ticks, bees, wasps, hornets and mosquitoes.
Ticks pose the threat of Lyme Disease, and as many know, we should look for the “bullseye” rash if bitten. But, did you know that only 9% of people that contract Lyme Disease actually present with a bullseye rash? So, with that being said, we must be watchful for other symptoms. Some symptoms may not show for months and include:
- Feeling as though you have the flu with a low-grade fever
- Swelling and pain in joints and bones
It is important to know these symptoms and equally important not to ignore them. Seek medical attention if they become present. Lyme Disease can become debilitating to the point where everyday activities become almost impossible to achieve. Using repellent is instrumental in the prevention of tick bites. It is important to note that if you wear Flame Resistant (FR) clothing, DEET should not be used as a repellent; using Permethrin is the correct repellent in this case. The use of DEET not only nullifies the FR properties of the protective clothing, but it also increases the flammability of the clothing by a factor of 7.
Bees, Wasps, and Hornets
With bees, wasps, and hornets, assess the areas in which you spend your time for nests. Bees can only sting once. However, wasps can sting multiple times without dying. Although one wasp’s sting will generally not severely injure a person, 30-40 stings from several wasps could indeed kill an adult. Hornets can sting similar to wasps, but the hornets venom is by far more toxic. Some individuals are allergic to these stings and must-carry what is commonly referred to as an EpiPen. An injectable epinephrine drug, the EpiPen, offers immediate first aid and helps to reduce the severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis.
The EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) virus is a potentially deadly virus transmitted by mosquitoes and is present in the eastern US. Other diseases that can be spread by mosquitoes are the Zika virus, malaria, dengue and various other encephalitic diseases. Wearing clothing covering up body parts and the use of insect repellent can drastically decrease the chances of contracting illnesses from mosquitoes. Assessing your surroundings and preparing for the areas you’ll be working and playing in are key to preventing injury illness from contact with any insects. Avoiding these insects would be the best defense. If that is not possible, dressing properly and the use of insect repellents are the best approach to protection.
Danella prioritizes the health and safety of our employees, read more about us and our values here.