This time of year we see an increased incidence of various insect bite and sting reactions. Fortunately, most are a mild nuisance but occasionally severe reactions occur. Localized reactions typically include redness, swelling, itching, and pain of the affected site(s). Simple home treatments include removal of the stinger (if applicable), application of a cold compress or ice, application of 1% hydrocortisone cream, ingestion of an OTC antihistamine, e.g., diphendydramine (Benadryl), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), etc. Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) can help relieve pain. Serious symptoms requiring immediate medical attention at the nearest hospital’s emergency department include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Sensation of the throat closing or difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Faintness or weakness
- Infection (If the wound appears infected and you are not able to reach your doctor, seek care at a hospital.)
For more detailed info about insect bites/stings, check out this article on insect bites.