Although insect stings can be irritating, symptoms usually begin to disappear by the next day and don't require treatment by a doctor. However, people who are highly allergic to insect stings may have life-threatening symptoms and may require emergency treatment.
What to Do:
- If stung by a honeybee, wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket, and the stinger is visible, remove it by gently scraping the skin horizontally with the edge of a credit card or your finer nail.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply ice or a cool wet cloth to the area to relieve pain and swelling.
- If the area is itchy, apply a paste of baking soda and water, or calamine lotion (do not apply calamine lotion to the face or genitals).
Call a doctor if:
- There's swelling or redness beyond the sting site
- The site looks infected (increasing redness, warmth, swelling, pain, or pus occurring several hours or longer after the sting)
Seek emergency medical care if:
- Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction begin to show
- The sting is anywhere in the mouth
- You have a known severe allergy to a stinging insect
- Injectable epinephrine was used
- Avoid: walking barefoot while on grass; using scented soaps, perfumes, or hair spray; dressing in bright colors or flowery prints; areas where insects nest or congregate; and drinking from soda cans. Also make sure that: outside garbage cans have tight-fitting lids; there are no stagnant pools of water (in rain gutters, flower pots, birdbaths, etc.); and food is covered when eating outside.