An insect bite or sting is a raised area that can appear if an insect that bit you injects venom into your body through the bite. This is common with mosquito, spider, chigger, tick, and flea bites. Some insect bites do not cause a welt, but may still present other symptoms such as redness, or rash.



Common symptoms of insect bites include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Rash
  • Pain at the site of the bite
  • Itching
  • Numbness or tingling at the site of the bite

It is important to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction to the insect (as common with bees, hornets, yellow jackets, etc). Seek medical attention immediately, if a person is showing the following:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Flushing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis include:

  • Abdominal cramping, vomiting, intense nausea or diarrhea
  • Tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing
  • Hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue or throat
  • Fainting,
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Cardiac arrest



Insects are hard to avoid, so if you know you are spending time outside, follow these tips to help protect yourself from insect bites:

  • Use a bug repellent spray.
  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long pants and socks.
  • Pre-treat clothing with products that contain Permethrin.
  • Use repellent containing 20% or more Deet on exposed skin.
  • Bathe as soon as possible after being outdoors.
  • Do not irritate or provoke any stinging insects if you come into contact with one.



Most insect bites are not cause to seek medical attention, as long as symptoms are mild and manageable. Follow simple care tips for your bite, including:

  • If stung by a bee, remove the stinger as quickly as possible. Scrape the skin with a blunt blade or credit card and avoid squeezing the stinger.
  • Apply cold or ice packs immediately.
  • Take over-the-counter medicines, such as Benadryl, if available.
  • Apply local antiseptics or antibiotic creams or lotions

Seek medical attention if signs of infections (redness, swelling, or pus) develop, or if you have tried the above first-aid measures and reaction is not improving within 20-30 minutes.

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