Summer sting alert

2010-11-16 22:56

Cape Town - Healthcare group Netcare 911 has issued a summer sting alert following a recent attack by a swarm of bees in the Pietermaritzburg area.

Eight people including two small children were stung in the incident, and the children were taken to hospital.

Netcare 911 operations director Peter Feurstein said his staff had been seeing "quite a few" bite and sting cases recently.

He said stings and bites could be life-threatening if the victim was allergic, or was stung a number of times by for example a swarm of bees.

"Most reactions to bites and stings are mild, causing stinging or itching that goes away within hours or even minutes," he said.

"But a few individuals develop severe reactions to certain insect venoms and they should get to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible if they show signs of doing so."

Children and the elderly could be particularly sensitive and at risk.

A severe reaction could include swelling at the throat or mouth that might constrict breathing, difficulty with breathing or swallowing, pain in the abdomen or chest, nausea, faintness, or skin rash or itching.

"If such symptoms are experienced then the individual must seek medical attention immediately," he said.