Insect Bites

Insect Bites

Arthropods include insects, spiders, mites, and ticks. These arthropods can bite or sting a person leading to an allergic and/or inflammatory response. An attack by a venomous insect includes a sting, where an insect injects a toxic venom through its stinger, or a venomous spider bite, which can rarely cause systemic neurotoxicity. Non-venomous insect bites occur when an insect pierces the skin to feed on a person’s blood. Common insects that bite include mosquitos, fleas, ticks, scabies, and bed bugs, and these bites often lead to intense itching.

A venomous sting is often characterized with a stinging sensation, pain, redness, and swelling of the area. An insect bite often presents with one or more discrete itchy papules on the area that was exposed to the insect.

What are some complications?

  • Secondary infection (impetigo or cellulitis)
  • Papular urticaria
  • Persisted insect bite reaction
  • Arthropod-borne infection

What is the treatment?

Stings

  • Remove the stinger carefully without squeezing to prevent more venom from entering the body
  • Clean the site thoroughly
  • Apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling
  • Topical medications: Corticosteroids creams can be prescribed, or calamine lotions can be used to help relieve symptoms.
  • Oral medications: Oral antihistamines can be taken to help relieve symptoms of the sting.

If you are allergic to the insect that stung you, take the appropriate measures to administer epinephrine if necessary. If an insect sting causes a severe reaction or anaphylaxis, immediately seek urgent care from a medical professional.

 Bites

  • Apply an ice pack to reduce itching
  • Topical medications: Prescription corticosteroids creams, calamine lotions, or local anesthetic agents can be used to help relieve symptoms.
  • Oral medications: Oral antihistamines can be taken to help relieve symptoms of itch.

If you suspect you have recently gotten insect bites or stings, our dermatologists can evaluate you and develop a treatment plan that is best for you.