Insect bites and stings
Insect bites and stings can cause an immediate skin reaction. The bites of red ants and the stings of bees, wasps and hornets are often painful. It is more likely that bites from mosquitoes, fleas and mites cause itching rather than pain.
Insect and spider bites cause more deaths from poisoning than snakebites.
In most cases, insect bites and stings can be treated at home easily.
Some people have extreme reactions that require immediate treatment to prevent death.
Some spider bites, such as the black widow or brown recluse, can cause serious illness or death. Most spider bites are harmless. If possible, take the insect or spider that bit you with you when seeking treatment for identification.
Symptoms depend on the type of bite or sting and may include:
Some people have severe and life-threatening reactions to bee or insect bites. This is called anaphylactic shock. This condition can occur quickly and lead to rapid death if not treated in a timely manner.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis can occur quickly and affect the entire body. These include:
Swelling of the mouth or face
Difficulty in swallowing
Fainting or dizziness
Abdominal pain or vomiting
Rash or redness
In case of severe reactions, first examine the respiratory tract and breathing of the person. Call the local emergency number (911 in the United States) and start mouth-to-mouth breathing and CPR. Then, follow these steps:
Comfort the person, trying to keep her calm.
Remove rings and other jewelry that may get stuck as the area may swell.
Use the person’s epinephrine (Epi-pen) kit or any other first aid kit item, if one exists (some people who have severe reactions to insects carry one with them).
If necessary, treat the person in case of signs of shock and accompany them until medical assistance arrives.
General measures for most bites and stings:
Remove the sting if it is present by scraping with the back of a credit card or some other straight edge object. Do not use tweezers, as these can tighten the venom sac and increase the amount of secreted venom.
Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. Then, follow these steps:
Apply ice (wrapped in a piece of cloth) at the site of the bite for 10 minutes, remove it for 10 minutes and repeat the process.
If necessary, take an antihistamine or apply creams that reduce itching.
During the next few days, watch for signs of infection (such as increased redness, swelling, or pain).
It must not
Take the following precautions:
DO NOT apply turnstiles.
DO NOT give the person stimulants, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), or any other pain medication, unless prescribed by the health care provider.
When to contact a medical professional
Call 911 or your local emergency number if someone with a sting is having the following symptoms:
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or wheezing
Swelling anywhere on the face or in the mouth
Oppression in the throat or difficulty swallowing
If you had a severe reaction throughout the body to a bee sting, your provider should refer you to an allergist for skin tests and treatment. You should receive emergency equipment to take it with you wherever you go.
It can help prevent insect bites and stings by doing the following:
Avoid rapid and abrupt movements near beehives or insect nests.
Avoid using perfumes and clothing with floral or dark-colored figures.
Use appropriate insect repellents and protective clothing.
Be cautious when eating in open spaces, especially with sugary drinks or in areas around garbage collectors that often attract bees.
If you have serious allergies to bites or insect bites, you should have an emergency kit and the epinephrine kit (EpiPen). Make sure friends and family know how to use them in case you have a reaction.
Bee sting; Stings – insects, bees and spiders; Stinging of the black widow spider; Stinging of the brown recluse spider; Flea bite; Bee sting or hornet; Lice bite; Mite sting; Scorpion sting; Spider bite; Wasp sting; Yellow wasp sting