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Insect Bites and Stings

​Insect bites and stings usually only cause minor irritation, such as swollen, itchy, red marks on the skin that last for a few days.

Some bites or stings can be painful or trigger more serious allergic reactions like nausea, facial swelling, breathing difficulties, stomach pain or shock.

HOW TO TREAT AT HOME

  • If there is a stinger in your skin, gently scrape it off with your fingernail or the edge of a card. Do NOT pinch the sting out with your fingers or use tweezers as you may spread the venom.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water, and pat dry.
  • Place an ice pack (wrap a bag of ice in a towel), then place this on the wound.
  • Do not scratch the bite as this may cause infection.
  • If the bite is painful or swollen, consult your neighbourhood pharmacist about over-the-counter medication like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
  • If the wound is itchy or swollen, apply a topical cream containing antihistamines or mild hydrocortisone (1%).

SEE YOUR GP IF:

  • There are signs of infection, e.g. increasing redness, pain, swelling, fever.
  • The sting fills with pus.
  • You experience flu-like symptoms.

GO TO THE A&E IF YOU HAVE:

  • Been stung three or more times.
  • Been stung in the mouth
  • Pain itching or swelling on other parts of your body, e.g. mouth or face
  • Symptoms of systemic reactions like:
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Nausea, vomiting or Diarrhoea
    • Fast heart rate
    • Giddiness
    • Confusion or agitation
    • Pale skin