How to Treat Bites & Stings

Former Navy SEAL and preeminent American survivalist Cade Courtley delivers step-by-step instructions on how to treat bites and stings. To learn more survival tips from Cade, you can purchase his book: Cade Courtley’s SEAL Survival Guide.  Be sure to tune in to America Unplugged, Thursday’s at 8PM E/P, to see how Cade and other survivalists live unplugged from society.

Bites and stings are not often fatal, but they certainly can be. For some people, a bite or a sting can simply cause irritation, bring about disease, or even send the body into shock. Certain insects and snakes, however, have venom that can cause death.

In all cases, if you get bitten or stung, do not scratch the site because you will further aggravate and potentially infect it.

Bee and Wasp Stings

For most people, bee and wasp stings will be an irritation, albeit a potentially painful one. At the first sign of a bee or wasp attack, the primary goal should be to get off the X and make sure you aren’t near a hive or other area with the potential for swarm activity.

While not everyone is susceptible to anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, from the venom of certain bites and stings, it is such a serious condition that getting yourself and your family tested to see if you’re at risk is prudent. If you have been bitten or stung and have experienced anything more than a local swelling/irritation at the point of damage, then you are at a higher risk for this to occur to you. Still, many people who have had no previous adverse reactions suddenly find themselves under the threat of anaphylactic shock. The tests aren’t perfect and can’t determine everything, but the information they yield just might save your life someday.

  1. Remove the stinger by scraping with a sharp edge, the same way you would sharpen a knife on a flat stone or use a spatula to flip a pancake.Remove a Bee Stinger
  2. Determine if victim carried epinephrine or some other treatment that needs to be immediately administered.
  3. Wash site with soap and water.
  4. Relieve discomfort with cold water.
  5. Use antibiotics, depending on the type of wound, or with the advice of the physician.

Spider and Scorpion Bites

  1. Clean and dress the bite area.
  2. Treat for shock and be prepared to give CPR.
  3. Obtain antivenin if available.
  4. Take antibiotics if necessary.


  1. Keep the victim calm and still, with as low a heart rate as possible, to reduce the spread of venom throughout the circulatory system.
  2. Immobilize the bitten extremity and prepare for immediate transportation to a medical facility.
  3. Treat for shock and force them to drink fluids.
  4. Remove all jewelry and other constricting items.
  5. Clean the bite area.
  6. Prepare to give rescue breathing and CPR.
  7. Use a constricting band (not a tourniquet) between bite site and heart that two fingers can easily slip under.
  8. Attempt to remove poison with mechanical suction or be squeezing.
  9. Obtain antivenin if available.


To learn more tips to surviving any disaster buy Cade Courtley’s SEAL Survival Guide.