Insect Bites and Stings
When a mosquito bites, your body reacts to the protein in the mosquito’s saliva by producing histamine, causing the swollen area and the itch.
A cold compress can help reduce the swelling of a mosquito bite.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites may take anywhere from a few minutes to days after the initial bite to begin itching, and bites can appear on their own or in clusters or lines. The bites may appear as raised bumps or flat welts and can last for between one and two weeks. Itchy bed bug bites have been known to cause people to lose sleep and increase anxiety, especially if they suffer from repeated bites.
Bee, Wasp and Hornet Stings
When a bee stings, its stinger enters your body and releases venom, causing pain and sometimes an allergic reaction. Most reactions to stings are limited to localized swelling or welts and are experienced as minor itching or pain, though in some cases a severe allergic reaction could lead to shock. Only a small percentage of people actually develop a severe reaction to insect bites or stings.
Fire Ant Bites and Stings
When their nests are disturbed, fire ants will bite and sting multiple times, resulting in groups of swollen red welts that blister, itch, burn and sting. These welts can cause discomfort for about a week.
Spider bites are generally mild and can cause some pain, swelling and irritation, but some can be deadly. If you develop severe symptoms after a spider bite, speak to your physician immediately.
Insect Bite Treatment
Here are some tips for treating insect bites or stings:
- Move to a safe area to avoid additional stings.
- Remove the stinger if it is stuck in your skin. Do not remove the stinger with tweezers, as this may push it further into your skin. To remove a stinger that it is close to the surface use the edge of a credit card—slide the card away from the point of the stinger toward the point of entry where the stinger entered the skin.
- Apply an anti-itch gel or cream to soothe the skin and stop the itch.
- Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling.