Follow these safety and first-aid tips and avoid calling 911 later.
What's a summer without a barbecue? To make sure that your meal goes off
without an emergency trip to the restroom or the ER, make sure that mayonnaise
and salads with mayonnaise stay out of the sun. "If these food items are
brought from refrigerator directly to table, help yourself, but don't let them
sit out more than 15 minutes in the hot sun," Leahy says. "Hamburgers
should be cooked thoroughly and not be pink inside."
Where the Wild Things Are
"An ounce of prevention is really important when it comes
to avoiding bug bites this summer," says toxicologist Stephen Pennisi, PhD,
a.k.a. "Dr. Itch" and director of the Lanacane Itch Information Center
in White Plains, N.Y.
"We work very hard during the day and want to enjoy our
time off, and there is nothing worse then having to stop in the middle of a
beach barbecue and take someone to the ER," he says.
Bees and wasps offer the greatest chance of acute reactions
that can be serious, he says.
"Many people already know that they are highly allergic to
the venom in bee and wasp stings and are prepared with an EpiPen to avoid
having to rush off to the ER," he says. An EpiPen injects epinephrine to
prevent a severe allergic reaction. Signs of a severe, life-threatening
reaction include dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure and an inability to
breathe from swelling in the nose and throat.
But people who don't know yet that they are allergic can have a
problem when they get stung. Here's how you know: Hives develop very quickly if
you are allergic. "When bees or wasps sting, they go deep, and the venom
gets into lungs and then the heart pumps more quickly, and within a minute, you
will start feeling something, and within minutes, you will definitely know that
you are having a reaction," Pennisi says.
People who are not allergic may only get a reaction where the
sting took place, he says.
But any reaction can be made worse by multiple stings. "The
greatest chance of multi-stings from bees, wasps, or hornets is when you
approach their nest or hive," Pennisi says.