Well, its summer time and we all know what that means. Hot, hot, & more hot. Everyone knows that during this time of the year it is very important to stay hydrated and to wear sunscreen, but there are a few other things that you should look out for and protect yourself against. One of those things are bees and wasps. Contrary to popular belief, you are technically not "allergic" to bee stings. The venom of bees and wasps contain toxins and our body quickly overreacts with histamine production. This histamine remains in our bodies and is never released, so when your body can no longer retain the extra histamines, you have a reaction. Histamine is found in higher concentrations in the skin, lungs and stomach. It's a potent arterial dilator, and therefore some victims experience dizziness and pass out. On the skin you may experience welts or hives, if in the lungs you'll experience bronchial constriction and therefore difficulty breathing, wheezing and in severe cases respiratory collapse or anaphylactic shock.
Here are the steps to take when stung in the outdoors by a bee or wasp:
Pull stinger out.
Cool compresses or ice.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) should be given to decrease minimal allergic reactions.
If a severe allergic reaction occurs, you must transport immediately and resort to basic life support.
In addition to Benadryl, it has been shown that Cimetidine (Tagamet) and H2 blocker can also help decrease the allergic response.
The other item to look out for is Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness. Certain ticks found on deer harbor the bacterium in their stomachs. It is spread by these ticks when they bite the skin, which permits the bacterium to infect the body. Lyme disease is not contagious from an affected person to someone else. It can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system and it affects different areas of the body in varying degrees as it progresses. The site where the tick bites the body is where the bacteria enter through the skin. Initially, the disease affects the skin, causing an expanding reddish rash often associated with "flu-like" symptoms. Later, it can produce the abnormalities in the joints, heart, and nervous system.
Because Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks attaching to the body, it is important to use tick-bite avoidance techniques when visiting known tick areas. Spraying insect repellant containing DEET onto exposed skin can help. Wearing long clothing can protect the skin. Clothing, children, and pets should be examined for ticks. Ticks can be removed gently with tweezers and saved in a jar for later identification. Bathing the skin and scalp, and washing clothing upon returning home might prevent the bite and transmission of the disease.
Well, there you have my "summer" lookout report. Other things to look for in this issue are "Sweep One for Mike Elliott," and my report on Sweep Fest held by the New Hampshire Assoc. of Chimney Professionals a few weeks ago and our election results. Things to look forward to are the 17th Annual New York State Guild Summer Workshop. This year they have a motorcycle ride scheduled for Wednesday, July 23rd, a golf tournament dedicated to Shawn Simboli on Thursday, and then the rest of the festivities including another performance by "The Sootprints". A registration form is in this issue but please do not delay sending in your registration if you plan on attending. Also, the NHACP is sponsoring and NFI Woodburning & NFI Pellet Review and Exam on August 6th & 7th. And don't forget to apply for your Solid Fuel Construction Supervisors License in order to be able to properly pull permits and install all those stove we are getting phone calls for all of a sudden. For more information and an application, go to www.mass.gov
Take care, stay cool and I hope to see you in New York!
Jean Jacobson, President