Insect Bites

How to Handle Insect Bites

bug bite

Most insect bites and stings only cause local reactions such as redness, swelling, pain and itching.

After an insect bite, make sure you thoroughly wash the area with soap and water to make sure it is clean.

Other symptomatic treatments that may help you feel better include applying:

  • an ice pack or cool compress
  • a meat tenderizer solution, which can be made by mixing one part meat tenderizer and 4 parts of water. This is especially helpful for painful stings from bee, wasp or ant. For best effect, soak a cotton ball in the meat tenderizer solution and use it to rub the area of the bite for 15-20 minutes.
  • a baking soda paste
  • a topical steroid or other topical anti-itch cream to the area

Other medications, including an oral antihistamine for itching, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and/or pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may also help. Consult with your local pharmacist or physician as needed.

More extensive local reactions may sometimes require a short course of an oral steroid. Antibiotics may be needed if the bite becomes infected.

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