Insect Bites and Stings | Treatment
Bites and stings happen throughout the year but are most common during the spring and summer months, when people tend to spend more time in the garden and outdoors. Most insect bites and stings are nothing to worry about and will clear up within a few days or even hours.
When an insect bites or stings the skin, it will often result in a red, swollen lump, which is often itchy and occasionally painful. Some people may experience a mild allergic reaction which causes the area around the bite and sting to also become swollen, reddened and painful. A severe allergic reaction can also occur which can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness and a swollen face or mouth which requires immediate medical treatment.
What to do if you have had a bite or sting
In order to treat the site, you should:
- Remove the sting or tick if it is still in the skin
- Wash the affected area with soap and water or a suitable antiseptic cream – this will clean the site and help to prevent any further infection.
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes, while also raising or elevating the affected area if possible – this will reduce any further swelling while also reducing down the existing swelling
- Avoid scratching the area to reduce the risk of infection – if you need to cover the bite or sting to prevent scratching in younger children then use a non-irritation bandage.
- Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, as these are unlikely to help.