Bite Insect Home Care
Home care for insect bites or stings includes:
- Clean the skin gently:
- Use mild soap and water.
- Do not scrub the skin.
- Dry the skin.
- Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream:
- Apply to the skin, 4 times a day.
- Avoid scratching: this can cause infection.
- Apply a cold compress:
- Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours.
- For bites or sings to the arms or legs:
- Elevate the extremity above the heart.
- Acetaminophen for pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Oral antihistamines for itching:
- Take prescribed medications as directed:
For more information:
Bite Insect Itching
Medications for itching in a person with insect bites or stings include:
Bite Insect Warning Signs
Notify your doctor if you have insect bites or stings, and any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Repeated vomiting
- Severe reaction to insect bites or stings in the past
- More than 20 fire and bites in a small child, or more than 100 bites in an adult
- Severe pain around the bite or sting
- Facial swelling
- Mouth or tongue swelling
- Pus draining from the bite or sting
- Red or brown, crusty rash
- Red streaks in the skin around the bite or sting:
- Lymphangitis of the arm
- Lymphangitis of the back of the leg
- Lymphangitis of the hand from a finger wound
- Worsening skin redness, swelling and tenderness around the bite or sting
- Fever over 101 degrees F (38.3 C)
Continue to Bite Insect Prevention
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- Graft DF. Managing insect sting allergy. The ins and outs of venom immunotherapy. Postgrad Med. 2005 Jul;118(1):38-42. 
- Jerrard DA. ED management of insect stings. Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Jul;14(4):429-33. 
- Moffitt JE. Allergic reactions to insect stings and bites. South Med J. 2003 Nov;96(11):1073-9. 
- Steen CJ, Janniger CK, Schutzer SE, Schwartz RA. Insect sting reactions to bees, wasps, and ants. Int J Dermatol. 2005 Feb;44(2):91-4. 
- Stibich AS, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. Insect bite reactions: an update. Dermatology. 2001;202(3):193-7.