While most insect bites are a mere annoyance, some can cause dangerous or even life-threatening complications. It’s best to have a serious bee sting, insect bite, or possible allergic reaction checked out at the nearest MD Now Urgent Care. This is particularly true if the victim has had past allergic reactions or complications, or if you suspect the insect could be a disease-carrier.
Insects Most Likely to Cause Allergic Reactions
Most insect bites and stings tend to be mild, and usually result in nothing more serious than a little itching, redness, stinging, and possibly some minor swelling. Other insect bites, however, can lead to serious or even deadly allergic reactions.
If the victim has experienced a serious reaction to a past insect bite or sting, it’s especially important to seek medical help early. Although most people won’t have a severe reaction, others may experience a condition known as anaphylaxis, which can have life-threatening consequences.
The stings and bites most likely to cause a serious reaction or anaphylaxis are bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and fire ants.
Signs of a Severe Allergic Reaction or Anaphylaxis
Those with anaphylaxis—a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction—will typically experience symptoms anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes after exposure to an insect. Symptoms may include:
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
- Wheezing and/or sneezing
- Sudden anxiety
- Itching or swelling of the eyes, lips, or other facial areas
- Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing
- Tightness of the chest
If Anaphylaxis is Suspected, Call 9-1-1 Immediately
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be deadly. While waiting for medical help, take the following preventive measures:
- If an EpiPen® is available, immediately use it on the victim.
- Loosen any tight clothing and cover the victim with a blanket.
- If the victim experiences nausea, place him or her on the side to prevent choking.
- If the victim shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, moving, or coughing, administer CPR immediately.
- Do not administer liquids.
Regardless of whether the victim shows signs of a serious allergic reaction, insect bites and stings can cause extreme discomfort, resulting in swelling, redness, and itching in the affected area. Stings in highly sensitive areas—such as the eyes, nose, or tongue—can be quite serious, even when not life-threatening. These should be treated as a medical emergency.Back to Top
Treatment for Less Serious Insect Bites
For most people, a bug bite will be more of a nuisance than a serious medical issue. Bites and stings often trigger the release of histamines in the body, which can result in swelling and itching in the affected area. Although uncomfortable, these symptoms should go away on their own within a few days.
Minor itching and irritation can be treated with the application of a topical antihistamine. Steroid creams also help to alleviate symptoms and provide immediate relief. If no serious symptoms or complications develop, no further treatment should be required.Back to Top
When to Visit an MD Now Urgent Care
Although most bug bites and stings go away on their own, there are some cases where it’s best to see a medical professional. Scratching a bite or sting raises the infection risk and may lead to complications.
If you notice redness or swelling that lasts longer than 72 hours, or if a fever develops, these may indicate an infection. Visit your nearest MD Now Urgent Care for a proper evaluation and treatment recommendation.
Some insects, mosquitos in particular, carry diseases such as the West Nile or Zika virus. After a bite, be sure to watch for signs such as fever, body aches, or fatigue. Although similar to signs of the flu, these symptoms can be far more serious when experienced after a suspicious bug bite. Always visit an MD Now Urgent Care if you experience persistent flu-like symptoms after an insect bite or sting.Back to Top
“The above is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. If you require medical advice or treatment, you should go to MD Now Urgent Care, your physician, or the nearest ER for evaluation.”