Marine Life stings are very common along the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Jellyfish, stingrays and Portuguese Man of War can all make for nasty encounters. Most jellyfish stings can cause a good amount of pain and swelling. Soaking the affected area in vinegar helps neutralize the poison.
Portuguese Men of War float on top of the ocean with delicate purple sails. Their sting is a lot more intense than a jellyfish. MSG based meat tenderizer helps takes the sting out but relief doesn't come easily.
Stingrays use a razor sharp whip like tail to protect themselves. Burying themselves in the sand to both hide from prey and predators, the most common injury comes when someone steps on a stingray by accident. Contact with a stingray can leave a mark and will cause severe swelling and a good amount of pain. Soaking the effected are in non-scalding hot water helps take the bite out of the sting. The effected area should be bandaged.
The United States has a large number of poisonous snakes including rattlesnakes (some of the most highly developed snakes in the world), cottonmouths, coral snakes, and copperheads. Snakebite will leave behind one or two tell tale bite marks and will cause a good amount of pain. If you are within an hour of help the best thing to do is keep the bitten area below the heart and the victim still. If you are more than an hour away from help you should have a snakebite kit and be well versed in how to use it. If you can provide a detailed description of the snake, it will help doctors figure out the best treatment.
Animal bites can be caused by a number of different encounters. Although rats, mice and bats might bite you in your sleep, and domestic dogs or cats are known to bite from time to time, most encounters happen when people get to close to wild critters. It is easy to forget that squirrel, chipmunk or prairie dog that is begging for a handout has sharp teeth, is wild, and may carry a wide variety of diseases.
If an animal bites you you will have a distinct bite mark and will probably be bleeding. The area should be washed clean and any bleeding should be controlled. If the animal was acting strangely, overly friendly, acting drunk, erratic, or appeared very ill, or if your skin is broken you should see a doctor and be evaluated for rabies. Fortunately the latest in rabies treatment doesn't require a lengthy and painful battery of shots in the stomach. If the animal can be capture safely, even better.
In all cases when a person experiences more than a flea or mosquito bite they should be watched carefully for severe reactions. If you are bitten by a spider or snake, stung by a scorpion, stingray or a large number of bees, wasps or hornets, or suffer an animal bite that breaks the skin you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Don't play doctor and don't use the internet as your medical guide in an emergency.
If you spend any amount of times in the outdoors you should take a first aid class through the American Red Cross to learn more about how to provide treatment to a wide variety of bites and stings. Also make sure that your backpack or RV is equipped with an up to date first aid kit, and be sure you know how to use it. If you spend any amount of time is an area where poisonous snakes are common, you should also carry a snakebite kit and be familiar with how to use it. Above all else don't loose to much sleep over getting bitten by some creepy crawly creature, more people die from being hit by lightning than snakebite in the United States each year!