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You are here : AllRefer.com > Health > Injuries & Wounds > Insect bites and stings : First Aid & Treatment

Insect bites and stings

Alternate Names : Bedbug bite, Bee sting, Bites - insects, bees, and spiders, Black widow spider bite, Brown recluse bite, Flea bite, Honey bee or hornet sting, Lice bites, Mite bite, Scorpion bite, Spider bite, Wasp sting, Yellow jacket sting


First Aid

For emergencies (severe reactions):

  1. Check the person's airways and breathing. If necessary, call 911 and begin rescue breathing and CPR.
  2. Reassure the person. Try to keep him or her calm.
  3. Remove nearby rings and constricting items because the affected area may swell.
  4. Use the person's Epi-pen or other emergency kit, if they have one. (Some people who have serious insect reactions carry it with them.)
  5. If appropriate, treat the person for signs of shock. Remain with the person until medical help arrives.

General steps for most bites and stings:

  1. Remove the stinger if still present by scraping the back of a credit card or other straight-edged object across the stinger. Do not use tweezers -- these may squeeze the venom sac and increase the amount of venom released.
  2. Wash the site thoroughly with soap and water.
  3. Place ice (wrapped in a washcloth) on the site of the sting for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process.
  4. If necessary, take an antihistamine, or apply creams that reduce itching.
  5. Over the next several days, watch for signs of infection (such as increasing redness, swelling, or pain).
Do Not
  • Do NOT apply a tourniquet.
  • Do NOT give the person stimulants, aspirin, or other pain medication unless prescribed by the doctor.
Call Immediately for Emergency Medical Assistance if

Call 911 if the person is having a severe reaction:

  • Trouble breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Swelling anywhere on the face or in the mouth
  • Throat tightness or difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling weak
  • Turning blue




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Review Date : 1/13/2010
Reviewed By : Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.



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