Bites and Stings

November 12, 2019
Bites and Stings

Understanding Bites and Stings

No matter if you’re on a mountain trail, in the backyard, or in the water, the wildlife you run into has ways of protecting themselves. Insects like ants, bees, flies, fleas, wasps, mosquitoes, and spiders may bite or sting if you get too close.

Bed bugs can bite and leave welts all over your body

While the initial bite may be painful, you usually end up with an allergic reaction to the venom they deposit in your skin through their stingers or fangs. This allergic reaction can cause an itchy rash with mild or severe swelling, soreness, and redness. Most of these will fade within a day or two, but a severe allergic reaction can cause life-threatening complications. The symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Welts
  • Heat around the bite
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion

Diagnosing Bites and Stings

Many people become aware of the fact that an insect has stung or bitten them because they see the insect either as they bite or shortly after. You shouldn’t provoke the insect to attack again, but try to keep the body if the insect dies. This can help a doctor identify it to get you on the correct treatment plan. This is especially important if you get bitten by a spider because a few of them like the black widow, hobo, and brown recluse have potent venom that can cause life-threatening complications. Common biting and stinging insects and spiders include:

A variety of insects can sting and cause pain and swelling
  • Bedbugs
  • Bees
  • Black Flies
  • Black House Spider
  • Black Widow Spider
  • Brown Recluse Spider
  • Chigger Mites
  • Fire Ants
  • Fleas
  • Grass Spiders
  • Head Lice
  • Hobo Spiders
  • Horse Flies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Mouse Spiders
  • Paper Wasps or Hornets
  • Scabies Mites
  • Ticks
  • Wasps
  • Wolf Spiders
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Scorpions
The bit of a horse fly can be very painful

Treating Bites and Stings

Fortunately, there are both at-home and doctor remedies for your bites and stings, and it depends on the severity. You can safely treat the majority of your bites and stings in the comfort of your own home if you have a mild reaction. If the stinger is in your skin, you want to remove it before you apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling and discomfort.

Oral pain relievers, topical anti-itch creams, and antihistamines are popular over-the-counter remedies to fight any discomfort you may have. Another option is mixing up a paste of baking soda and water to calm any itching and reduce the sting around the area. 

If you have more severe symptoms with your bites or stings, you want to contact emergency services. Many paramedics recommend laying the person on their side, loosening their clothing, and performing CPR if they go into shock and stop breathing.

Spider bites can be painful and poisonous

Black widow and brown recluse spider bites require emergency treatment, as do scorpion stings. The doctor will usually prescribe a shot of antihistamine that works far faster than oral tablets or liquid. They’ll also monitor you and prescribe higher-dose steroids to help control any swelling or inflammation you may have. They can also monitor you until they’re sure you’re going to be alright. 

If you would like a professional opinion, Medek healthcare providers can help to diagnose these conditions.