Pharmacists relieving GPs
From Dr Anne Hinsley
I was surprised not to see the best treatment I have found included in your piece on bites and stings (Clinical, 22 October). This is hot water, as hot as can be tolerated, applied to the sting site. I am told the heat helps to destroy the protein of the toxin.
It works well when done as soon as possible and also a few days later when redness and swelling are well-established.
Author Dr Bernard Foex replies:
This is a good point. Heat is a well-accepted treatment for many marine envenomations, but cold is recommended for Portuguese man o' war stings.