Insect Bites and Stings Management

The right procedure if you've been bitten or stung

To treat an insect bite or sting:
  • First Remove the Stinger from your skin.
  • Don’t run just only Walk away from the area. Some insects will be threatened by quick movements and in addition to that running may increase your body’s absorption of the venom.
  • If a stinger is left into the skin, scrape it off with a flat surface do not use tweezers or your fingertips, as that could squeeze more venom into the sting area.
  • Control swelling by applying ice. If you were stung on your arm or leg, elevate it to limit swelling.
  • Remove any tight-fitting jewelry from the area of the sting. As it swells, rings or bracelets might be difficult to remove.
Treat Symptoms

For most people, bee or other insect stings simply hurt or itch or cause a lump where the sting happened. This is called a local reaction. It responds well to ice and the itch is relieved by oral antihistamines (they take up to one hour to begin relieving symptoms). You can apply also calamine lotion. For pain, take painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Watch for these symptoms indicating an anaphylactic reaction:
  • Hives or generalized itching other than at the site of the sting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue or throat
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps,.
These symptoms indicate need for immediate treatment with an epinephrine auto-injector (sometimes, more than one dose of it is needed) followed by medical assistance at an emergency facility for observation, additional treatment and instructions. Late phase reactions can suddenly appear and be more intense than initial reaction.

Follow-Up

For most people it might take 2-5 days for the area to heal. Keep it clean to prevent infection. Report incidents to your primary care doctor and allergist. If don’t have an allergist, ask your primary care physician for a referral. An allergist can offer venom immunotherapy as an effective long term solution to protect against life threatening reactions in the future.