What to do if you get bitten or stung by an insect

Posted on: May 10, 2022, in Blog

Most insect bites or stings will improve within a few hours or days and can be treated at home, but if you show an allergic reaction, it is advised that you get medical treatment immediately. 

Signs of an allergic reaction

How do you know when a sting or bite is too much for you to handle alone? If you have any symptoms of a systemic allergic reaction, call emergency services right away. If an epinephrine auto-injector is available, it should be used immediately. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Redness or hives
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Feeling like your throat is closing up
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

In the case of a black widow or brown recluse spider bite, or if you have any doubt about what kind of spider bit you and you’re feeling sick, develop a blister, or have cramps, get to the emergency department immediately. (Take the spider with you if you were able to catch it safely.)

If bites or stings get infected or if an open sore or blister refuses to heal, make an appointment with your family doctor.

First aid for insect bites and stings

If the insect bite or sting is not severe, you can treat the affected area at home. If the wound does not heal or get’s worse, see a doctor immediately.

To treat an insect bite or sting:

  • Remove the sting, tick or hairs if still in the skin.
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
  • Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
  • Avoid scratching the area or bursting any blisters, to reduce the risk of infection – if your child has been bitten or stung, it may help to keep their fingernails short and clean.
  • Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they’re unlikely to help.

The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days.

If you are aware that you have a biting insect infestation and you have not been able to get it under control, contact Service Master to advise and administer the best course of action.

Source: nhs.uk & https://kidshealth.org/

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