Thursday, May 9, 2013

Adventure In Jungle Is Okay, But Beware Of Bite And Stings

Snake bite is the most deadly thing happens in jungle. Although serious snake bite is rare among travelers. Comparatively a few snakes are poisonous, and more often than not only manage to inject a small amount of venom. Even if venom has been injected, serious symptoms usually take hours, not minutes, to develop. A poisonous bite will usually show two fang marks, quite separated from a row of small tooth marks, which are not dangerous.

•    When walking outside, especially in long grass or thick undergrowth, carry a stick to beat the path in front of you. Wear boots, or strong shoes and trousers.

•    Keep the grass and other vegetation short around your house.

•    Never put your hand into holes, onto or under rock ledges or anywhere you cannot easily see if a snake is lurking.

•    Avoid climbing trees or rock covered in dense foliage.

•    Take care walking under overhanging tress or bushes.

•    If camping in an area where snakes are common, try to sleep on a bed or raised platform, at least one foot off the ground.

•    Avoid swimming in river matted with vegetation, in mangroves or muddy estuaries.

•    If you come across a snake, stay absolutely still until it slinks off.

•    If a snake bites you, don’t get panicked. Tension cause high-blood pressure consequently increases the poison to flow more speedily in the blood.

How to avoid leeches in jungle?

These are common in jungle areas and monsoon forests, usually lying in wait by the path. Leeches are dangerous only when attacked in numbers over a period of hours, when they can cause marked loss of blood.

Prevent leeches from biting you by wearing stout footwear and trouser tucked in at the ankles to boots or thick socks. Apply a DEET containing insecticide to your skin and soak trousers and socks in a leech to detach itself in anguish, but the wound bleeds and itches for some time afterwards and occasionally get infected if the biting part of the leech remains in the skin. Avoid swimming in forest lakes or rivers where water leeches are known to occur.

Beware of scorpions and spiders

These unusually bite only if annoyed. Avoid reaching into unlit corners, and shake any shoes before putting them on. Don’t walk barefoot in the jungle or anywhere else if scorpions are known to be present.
In scorpion-infested areas, camp sites should be checked and cleared of scorpion tunnels before pitching tents.

Most scorpion bites are very painful; only a few are dangerous, Central and South American, North African and some Indian species being the most notorious.

Spiders, with a few exceptions such as the Black Widow or Australian Redback, are rarely dangerous. Prevent and treat in the same way as for scorpions.

Potential threat from bees and wasps

There are two potential dangers for travelers. One is the rare attack by swarms of bees, usually in thundery weather (run fast or dive into water). The other danger, more common and easier to deal with, is the single sting if you are hypersensitive to bees, wasps or hornets.

If in the past you have had a severe reaction to a sting or have developed progressively worse reactions, take and keep with you at least two self-injectable ampoules of adrenaline such as Epipen, or Epipen Junior for children.

Nettle rash accompanied by swelling of the lips or tongue or wheezing are signs that you should use adrenalin straight away. In addition take a double dose of an antihistamine.

Other Biting Insects

Here are a few more that can cause grief to travelers:

•    Assassin bags also called kissing bugs, cone-nosed bugs, vinchucas. These cause Chagas disease in South America.

•    Chiggers are small red mites that cause skin irritation. They are common in East Asia, the Pacific Islands and South America. They can cause Scrub Typhus. Use DEET insect repellent and tuck trousers into socks where chiggers are known to occur.

•    Nairoby fly is common in East Africa in the rainy season. It is about half a centimeter long and is red, black and dark green. You should flick it off the skin and not crush it because it can cause intense skin irritation when squashed on the skin, especially near the eye. Apply calamine lotion or mild hydrocortisone to the skin and take histamines, seek medical advice if the eye is severely inflamed.

•    Sandflies causes intensely itchy bites in hot climates. They spread leishmaniasis and the less serious sandfly fever.

•    Tsetse flies spread sleeping sickness.

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