How to Deal with Animal Bites & Stings Overseas

When overseas you must be vigilant to many things that may not be a usual experience in your home country, especially foreign species that could potentially harm you. Animal bites and stings can be very different from the ones you may have heard of back home. There are various bites and stings that you could encounter when you are overseas. Being able to deal with animal bites and stings when you’re abroad is important, and to do this you must be aware of the different foreign species that could potentially bite or sting you when you are in another country. Make sure you are completely aware of all the possibilities before travelling or moving overseas. Making sure you have international health insurance is essential, as medical professionals know how to treat bites and stings quickly and efficiently.

In this article, Expatriate Healthcare covers the most common animal bites and stings overseas, and what is best to do if you find yourself having to treat yourself or someone else with a bite or a sting. One thing you must be aware for is that not all animals bite because it is in their nature. Animals such as iguanas, alligators or crocodiles, cats, dogs, mites and ticks.

Bees, Wasp and Hornet Stings

Unless allergic to stings, they are usually not deadly. An adult can withstand about 1,000 stings, and a child 500 at once before the stings becoming fatal. Usually, the symptoms of these stings can cause redness, swelling, itching and overall pain and irritation. Treat the sting area by removing the stinger, and using skin treatments such as cream and ointment, to reduce the swelling and pain.

Stings from bees, wasps and hornets do not usually require further medical attention unless the person inflicting with the sting seems to be showing signs of an allergic reaction; this could result in an anaphylactic reaction. If an allergic reaction is suspected, hospital attention is required as the person needs to be treated with epinephrine.

Jellyfish Stings

Jellyfish are part of the Cnidaria family, which are known to cause more poisonings than any other marine animal. Their stingers are on their tentacles, and one tentacle may contain thousands of them. The symptoms may be an itchy painful rash, which develops into blisters, before filling with puss and rupturing. Along with this you may experience nausea, weakness, spasms, excessive sweating and chest pain that worsens with breaking.

To treat jellyfish stings depends on where in the world you are, further medical treatment is strongly advised, as the poisonous stings have led to death. First, wash with saltwater and remove tentacles from the skin, and soak to relieve the pain. If you experience any sign of breathing problems or altered awareness, medical attention is required as quickly as possible.

Snake Bites

If bitten by a snake, seek medical attention straight away. Knowing whether the bite is poisonous is essential to know how to treat it. it is uncommon that bites from non-poisonous snakes cause any serious medical problems. It is advised that you seek medical attention quickly whether the bite is poisonous or not.

Symptoms of snake venom poisoning is based on the size and species of the snake, the bite’s location on the body, the person’s age, and any underlying medical condition or problems. It is down to medical professions to conclude if the snake was poisonous, whether any venom was injected and what species it was.

First aid is helpful to the person who has been bitten until the medical help arrives. The bitten area should be kept positioned at about heart level, and any tight clothing or jewellery around the bitten area removed.


Painless and with minor symptoms, tick bites are usually hard to detect. The symptoms of the bites show swelling and redness. Ticks can be harmless; however, they can transmit bacteria and cause illnesses such as Lyme disease. In most cases, Lyme disease in passed on once the tick has been attached for over 36 hours. It is essential that once you realise you have been bitten by a tick; you get it treated straight away.

To treat the bite, you must remove the tick carefully and quickly. Avoid twisting or squeezing the tick when you are removing it, and do not handle the tick with your bare hands. Seek medical attention if you are can’t completely remove the tick, or the rash gets bigger. You know to call the emergency services if you start to develop a severe headache, paralysis, heart palpitations or you have trouble breathing.

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