Bites and Stings


In most cases, an insect bite or sting is no more than a minor irritation. You might experience a bit of itchiness or pain, perhaps a bit of redness in the affected area, and it can likely be addressed with basic home remedies. However, it is possible for some people to have severe allergic reactions to certain bites or stings, which can prove fatal.

Symptoms of Insect Bites or Stings

Although life-threatening allergic reactions to bites and stings are very rare, you should be aware of the symptoms in case you are affected, since anaphylactic shock is a possibility. These symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, ears, eyelids, hands and feet
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Reddening of a large area around the bite

Who is at Risk for Bites and Stings?

Hikers, campers and others who spend a lot of time in forested areas are most susceptible to insect bites and stings, and geographic location may determine how likely you’ll be to encounter dangerous spiders, scorpions and the like.

Treatment of Insect Bites and Stings

Applying ice to a sting or bite can reduce swelling, while over-the-counter antihistamines and pain relievers can bring itch and pain relief. Topical analgesics can also help relieve itching.

Emergency Warning Signs

If you have been bitten by a spider or insect and are experiencing any symptoms of anaphylactic shock listed above, seek immediate emergency assistance.