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How to Treat Insect Bites

woman with an insect bite

At any given time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion insects alive. Although you can try to avoid them as much as possible, there is a high chance that you will encounter a couple bites from them in your lifetime. Depending on the insect that has bitten you, the affected area can either be treated at home, or may need emergency medical attention. The doctors at MD365® have listed some tips for handling insect bites, as well as signs to look out for.

Mild Reactions

Most reactions to insect bites are mild, such as redness, itching, stinging, and minor swelling. These insect bites can be taken care of at home, with natural remedies or over-the-counter medications. If applicable, remove the stinger first. Then, wash the area with soap and water to avoid an infection. Apply a cool compress to reduce swelling and pain. You can use a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice.

To reduce pain, take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. We recommend using 0.5 or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a baking soda paste on the bite. Apply it several times a day, or until the symptoms go away. If you are concerned about the symptoms, give MD365® a visit. Symptoms usually go away within a day or two, but if they haven’t, our family physicians are more than happy to take a look.

Severe Reactions

Sometimes, insect bites, such as from bees, wasps, scorpions, hornets, or fire ants, will cause severe reactions. Some people can experience allergic reactions that can be life-threatening.  If you are dealing with any of these symptoms, come to our urgent care or dial 911:

  • Hives
  • Nausea, cramps, or vomiting
  • Dizziness, faintness, or confusion
  • Swelling of the eyelids, lips, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • If a scorpion stung a child

How to Avoid Insect Bites

Although most insect bites are harmless, some insects carry disease, or cause allergic reactions. The best thing to do is to avoid them altogether. Here are some tips:

  • Use insect repellent: Follow the directions and reapply as directed. We recommend using repellent that has 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: if you know you will be outside at night or hiking in dense woods, wear clothing that covers most of your skin. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, long socks, etc. will help protect your skin from insect bites.
  • Pay attention to outbreaks:  CDC Travel Health Notices offer recommendations and warnings about certain areas. Check them out before making travel plans.

MD365® Is Here for You

Our team of family physicians are always here for you. Our compassionate doctors are knowledgeable in many subspecialties, and they can treat anything from foreign body removal to insect bites. We always go the extra mile to keep you healthy and happy. If you are looking for a trusted healthcare provider in Shirley, New York, you don’t need to look any further. Get in touch with MD365® today, to schedule an appointment.



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