Insect Bites and Stings

Reactions to insect bites and stings are usually in response to the venom that is received from the insect. While this may be a minor annoyance that heals within a few days for most people, there are some people who are severely allergic to the venom. People who are allergic to insect stings or bites may have a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis which requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of Insect Bites and Stings

Most reactions to insect bites and stings disappear over the course of time. There are delayed reactions that can cause hives, swollen glands and fever. In general, bites and stings usually result in:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
Patients experiencing severe allergic reactions, which may include the following symptoms, should seek immediate medical help:
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Abnormal swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Faintness
  • Hives

Treatment of Insect Bites and Stings

If the insect bite or sting is not a medical emergency, the general steps to take in caring for an insect bite or sting may include:

  • Removing a stinger if it is present
  • Cleansing the area of the bite or sting with soap and water
  • Icing the area to bring down swelling
  • If needed, taking an antihistamine to reduce itching
  • Using a topical cream to reduce the itching and pain

Patients experiencing symptoms in areas other than where the bite or sting occurred, should seek immediate medical attention as they may be experiencing an allergic reaction.

Additional Resources


Virginia Cleaver, PharmD, M.S. in PGPM, RPh, CPh

Virginia Cleaver is a clinical pharmacist with experience working in retail, mail-order pharmacy, institutional and managed care environments. She is an analytical, detail-oriented expert with in-depth knowledge of pharmacovigilanc

Read More

Our Location

New Port Richey, Florida

NewGen Clinical Care Pharmacy
7206 Massachusetts Ave

More Information