Stung by Outdoor Work — Outdoor work safety is just as important as safety for indoor workers and the basics are similar – maintain an awareness of your surroundings, know the dangers, and be prepared for an emergency. If you work in landscaping or at a garden center or nursery, you probably know how such a tranquil place can provide some stinging experiences. We hope you’ll read through this blog post so you can avoid being stung by outdoor work.
Tips for working safely outdoors – avoid being stung by outdoor work:
- Wear clean, soft, light-colored clothing. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended.
- Tuck pants into socks or boots.
- Avoid using cologne, perfume, scented lotions, or scented deodorants.
- Check your work area for hives and anthills before starting.
- Stay away from flowering plants, if possible.
- Keep your work area clean. Clean up especially after lunch as insects are attracted to discarded food.
- If you have severe allergic reactions to insect stings, carry an epinephrine auto-injector and wear a medical identification bracelet stating your allergy.
- Be careful when lifting things off the ground. You could be bothering the ground bees or the anthills.
Caution: Never disturb ant hills, especially in a geographic area infested with fire ants.
- Seek immediate medical attention if a sting causes severe chest pain, nausea, profuse sweating, shortness of breath, severe swelling, or trouble speaking.
If you or another worker gets stung:
- Assign someone to stay with the worker in case they have an allergic reaction and need medical attention.
- Wash the sting site with soap and water.
- Remove the stinger using gauze wiped over the area or by scraping a fingernail over the area. Don’t squeeze the stinger or use tweezers.
- Apply ice to the sting area to help reduce swelling.
- Don’t scratch the sting or bite area, as this can increase swelling, itching, and, even worse, the risk of infection.
Learn more about this topic from the CDC.
Working outside with plants, trees, and landscaping is glorious for those who love being outside with nature. It’s important to take care of yourself when it comes to stinging insects. Dress properly and stay alert to your surroundings. If you have sting or bite allergies, please carry your epinephrine auto-injector and wear a medical identification bracelet with your allergy or allergies noted. Don’t get stung by outdoor work.
Extra tip: Wear sunscreen and a hat and stay hydrated!
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