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:
- Abnormal swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
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.