There you are, minding your own business when out of nowhere, you feel a sting on your leg. You look down and see the antagonist: A couple of ants digging into your ankle to let you know that you’re not welcomed on their turf.

As urbanised as Singapore is, incidents like this are reminders that we live in nature’s midst and nature does bite back when the line has been crossed. But rarely has the retaliation been fatal, such as the case of the senior cyclist who died after being stung by hornets. Even in Australia, where it’s home to some of the most venomous creatures on earth, only 34 cases of fatality caused by insect bites were recorded over 13 years of study.  

What can you do if you also encounter hornets or the ever-present fire ants in Singapore? What about the bites that you suspect are the result of some unwanted souvenirs, aka bed bugs, from your recent holiday?

For one, see your GP if you develop pus-filled blisters and flu-like symptoms, and according to Singhealth, definitely go to the A&E if you have been stung three or more times, or stung in the mouth. You would also require immediate medical attention if you have the following signs of anaphylaxis or severe, life-threatening allergic reaction:

  • Pain, itchiness or swelling on other parts of your body such as the face or mouth
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Giddiness
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Pale skin

Fortunately, in most cases, the redness and swelling will subside within several hours or days, despite the initial pain and itchiness. For quicker relief, find out how to identify the culprits behind the bites, what to do immediately and how you can treat these bites at home.



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