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 anti-histamines 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
  • painful itching or swelling on other parts of your body, e.g. mouth or face
  • symptoms of systemic reaction like:
  • difficulty in breathing
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • fast heart rate
  • giddiness
  • confusion or agitation
  • pale skin