Insect bites and stings
Insect bites and sting symptoms
An insect’s bite or sting usually causes a swollen, red lump that develops on the skin, which can be more painful or itchy in some instances.
The symptoms will improve within a few days or hours, but sometimes they can last a bit longer. Some people tend to develop a mild allergic reaction and a larger swollen skin around a wasp or bee sting, which will fade within a week. Rarely might people develop a severe allergic reaction, which can lead to difficulties in breathing, a swollen mouth or face, and dizziness that requires immediate medical treatment.
What to do during insect bites?
To treat insect bite, bee or wasp sting:
- Remove the tick or stick if it’s on your skin
- Wash the infected area with water and soap
- Apply ice pack in swelling for at least ten minutes
- Elevate and raise the sting area if possible to reduce swelling
- Avoid scratching the area since it can develop an infection
- Avoid home remedies like bicarbonate of soda or vinegar, as they are less likely to help
The itchiness, swelling, and pain can last a few days; you can ask your pharmacist for painkillers or itching creams.
Seek immediate medical help if
Call for immediate help if you or someone else has the following severe reactions:
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- A swollen mouth, face, or throat
- Feeling sick
- Raise in fast heart rate
- Faint or dizziness
- Difficulty swallowing
Loss of consciousness
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022