Insect bites and stings may inject venom or other substances into skin that result in a variety of symptoms. Severe reactions include:
- Hives, nausea, cramps, vomiting, or a rapid heartbeat,
- Involuntary muscle movement
- Swelling of the lips or throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, faintness, and confusion
- Anaphylactic Shock
If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 or emergency medical assistance immediately. Typical reactions are mild and include local itching, stinging, and swelling. These symptoms typically subside within 48 hours.
First aid for insect bites begins with
- Removing any insect parts from the site and cleaning the area with soap and water.
- Use ice to reduce pain and control swelling.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the bite or sting several times daily and take an antihistamine as needed to reduce swelling and prevent allergic reactions until symptoms subside.
In some cases, delayed symptoms such as hives, fever, swollen glands, and joint pain may occur. A person experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention from their health care provider.
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-insect-bites/FA00046
- About.com: http://firstaid.about.com/od/bitesstings/ht/06_bugbites.htm