Basic First Aid Tips and Information For
Insect Bites and Stings

Insect bites and stings are generally easy to treat at home. However, the effects to individuals who have severe allergic reactions to such bites and stings can be serious enough to require emergency professional help.

Common symptoms of insect bites and stings:

  • immediate pain, swelling, and redness at the site
  • immediate muscle rigidity in the stomach, back, shoulders and chest
  • burning, numbness, and tingling
  • itching, rash or hives
  • dizziness
  • anxiety and restlessness
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • swelling of eyelids and watering of the eyes
  • Weakness, tremors, or even paralysis--particularly of the legs
  • sweating
  • salivation
  • deep sting marks or double fang marks
  • First aid for general types of bites:

  • Move the victim to a safe place, away from the area where the accident happened.
  • If the stinger is still present, use straight-edged object like ATM card and driver's license card and scrape it across the stinger.
  • Refrain from using tweezers when removing the stinger since it may squeeze the venom sac and release more venom to the body, aggravating the effects of the sting.
  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with ordinary soap and water.
  • Place an ice pack (ice held within a soft towel) of the area of the sting.
  • If itching is uncomfortable, apply cream on the surface of the sting.
  • Infection can happen a few days the incident. If increased pain, itching, redness and swelling are experienced, seek for medical advice.
  • For severe reactions:

  • Move the victim to a safe place, away from the area where the accident happened.
  • Check the victim's pulse, breathing and airways.
  • Call 911
  • If the victim is unconscious, begin CPR and rescue breathing.
  • If the victim is responding, give words of reassurance that everything is going to be okay and survival is not even a question. Make him or her calm.
  • Remove objects from the body that may aggravate the swelling (ring, necklace, bracelets).
  • People who have serious allergies to insect bites and stings often carry an emergency epinephrine kit. Use it if the victim has one.
  • Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
  • Contact friends and family members of the victim.
  • When to call for help?

    Call 911 if the patient is having severe allergic reaction and showing the following signs:

  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing
  • Feeling weak
  • Excessive swelling on the face and body that are away from the area of the bite or sting
  • Throat feels tight or like it is closing up
  • Turning pale or blue
  • Prevention

  • Never provoke the insects (insects attack if threatened)
  • Whenever you go outdoors, wear protective clothing and use appropriate insect repellant
  • Avoid making rapid movements when near the insects
  • Stay away from bee hives or nests
  • When eating outdoors avoid places that attract bees like the areas around the garbage cans
  • Things you should not do:

  • Do not give the victim pain medication, stimulants and aspirins unless prescribed by the doctor.
  • Do not apply tourniquet.
  • Keep in mind that this article provides basic and general information. Cases of bites and stings can differ greatly from one person to another. Make sure that you have proper first aid training to effectively assess and treat the victim of insect bites and stings.



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