Insect Bites & StingsInsect bites and stings can be simply divided into 2 groups: venomous and non-venomous. A sting is usually from an attack by a venomous insect such as a bee or wasp, which uses this as a defence mechanism by injecting toxic and painful venom through its stinger. Whereas non-venomous insect bites pierce the skin to feed on your blood. This usually results in intense itching.
Bites or stings are most likely in areas with heavy insect infestations, and during outdoor activity in the warm weather of spring and summer.
Signs and symptoms
The skin becomes red, swollen, itchy and can be painful. These are the most common symptoms. Sometimes bites cause an allergic reaction. Bites can become infected by scratching. Look out for a rash or swelling that gets worse instead of better. If this happens, see a doctor.
If you have had anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) following an insect bite, ask your doctor for an anaphylaxis kit to treat any future recurrences.
Non-prescription oral antihistamines to decrease itching.
Non-prescription topical corticosteroid preparations to reduce inflammation and decrease itching. Use according to label directions. For face and groin, use only low-potency steroid products without fluorine.
Stronger topical or oral corticosteroids if the reaction is severe.
Epinephrine or corticosteroids (orally or by injection) to prevent or diminish anaphylaxis symptoms.
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