Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Keep Your Kids Safe With UK Wasp Watch

The Summer Holidays are in full swing and that means playing out in the garden, day trips, picnics and WASPS!!    With the unseasonably warm weather that we experienced earlier this year, wasps are flourishing.  In fact Rentokil reports a 13% increase on wasp enquiries from this time last year!
Rentokil have conducted a survey which has found that two thirds of mums are worried about wasp stings.  This is not surprising as wasp stings can cause severe reactions and 300,000 people in the UK suffer allergic reactions to stings.  Anaphylactic reactions can occur and in severe cases can prove extremely dangerous.  The survey showed that 76% of mums would not know how to deal with anaphylactic shock if their child suffered from it.

The Anaphylaxis Campaign advises the following steps:

·         Call 999 immediately to seek medical help
·         Keep the patient calm
·         Lay the patient down, with their feet raised to increase the blood flow to the heart
·         If there is a sign the patient will be sick, turn them onto their side into the recovery position until the ambulance arrives

To help parents, and the wider public, manage the risk of wasps - Rentokil’s interactive UKWaspWatch map tracks sightings of wasps to create a picture of wasp hotspots across the country. This year, Rentokil has teamed up with The Anaphylaxis Campaign  (the UK charity focused on helping people living with severe allergies) and will donate 20p to the charity every time a person logs a wasp or wasps’ nest sighting onto UKWaspWatch throughout the summer.  The site also includes information on what parents should do if their child is stung.

Wasps can be unpredictable and get particularly aggressive towards the end of summer.  To reduce the risk, you should avoid areas where wasps cluster, such as rubbish bins in picnic areas. Wasps' nests can contain up to 5000 wasps which can be incredibly dangerous if provoked.  Children should be made aware of the dangers of playing near or worrying wasps' nests. After all prevention is better than cure.

Rentokil has the following top tips for parents to minimise wasp threats:

·         Encourage your child to stay calm in the presence of wasps.  The best advice is to move away slowly; waving arms or swatting wasps will increase their tendency to sting.

·         Wasps are attracted to bright colours.  If you’re planning to spend time outdoors, muted or pastel shades will help prevent your child being targeted.

·         Don’t walk barefoot outside and look out for wasps before sitting down.

·        Wasps will make a beeline for sweet drinks and foods.  Encourage children to use lids and wrap food as soon as you’ve finished eating.

·         Ensure children wipe their faces and hands after eating sweet things like lollies and ice-creams to minimize further temptation for wasps.

·         Remember that insect repellents go hand in hand with sun cream in the hot weather.

·         Research the difference between wasps and bees. While both are bright yellow and black striped, there are noticeable differences between the insects. For example, wasps tend to be less hairy than bees, their eyes are kidney shaped and their bodies more pointed, with a noticeable waist. Being stung by a bee is quite rare as they are much less aggressive than wasps.

A high wasp presence is a real turn-off for parents, with 82% of mums stating they would actively avoid a wasp hotspot. Parents concerned about wasps can log onto UKWaspWatch to identify areas with high wasp activity when planning days out or weekends away.  You can also log any sightings together with their severity, ranging from a single wasp through to a wasps’ nest:

  • Visit and log a sighting directly onto the map by following the simple instructions
  • Enter your sighting via a special Facebook application  
  • Tweet the hashtag #ukwaspwatch, your postcode and how serious the sighting is using the scale on the UKWaspWatch website.

Wasps can be real pests in the summer and cause anxiety, especially with the risk of an allergic reaction if your child has never been stung before.  It is very useful to have practical advice on avoiding wasps and what to do if your child does get stung.  Although as a parent we worry about wasp stings, it is reassuring to know that only 0.5% of the population will suffer from an acute allergic reaction.  Knowing what to do in such an event can be a real life saver.  If we take the recommended precautions hopefully we can all enjoy a summer free from wasp stings!

To find out more about UKWaspWatch and to raise money for The Anaphylaxis Campaign visit 


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