Font Size
A
A
A

Insect Bites (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Hives are the most common systemic symptom. They appear as irregular, raised, red blotchy areas on the skin and are very itchy. If hives are the only systemic symptom present, they are often treated at home with an antihistamine but if other symptoms such as shortness of breath and/or other symptoms listed below occur, 911 should be called.

If you start to experience symptoms that are not just at the site of the bite or sting (or if you have a history of severe reactions), seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms (systemic symptoms affect the whole body) may progress to fatal anaphylactic shock.

If the bite appears infected (redness with or without pus, warmth, fever, or a red streak that spreads toward the body), see a doctor immediately.

If you don't know what bit or stung you, it is important to keep watching the area closely to be sure it does not become infected. Call your doctor if there is an open or ulcerating wound, which may suggest a poisonous spider bite.

People who have a history of severe reactions should go to the nearest hospital's emergency department after a bite or sting if they experience any symptoms. Those who have no history of severe reactions should also go to the emergency department immediately or call 911 if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Sensation of the throat closing or difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Faintness or weakness
  • Infection (If the wound appears infected and you are not able to reach your doctor, seek care at a hospital.)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Insect Bites

Allergic Reaction
Allergic Reaction An allergic reaction is an overreaction to a harmless substance. Symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction include hives, rashes, swelling, itching, wheezing, ...learn more >>
Bedbugs
Bedbugs Bedbugs are blood-sucking parasites that feed on mammals and birds. Symptoms and signs of bedbug bites include reddish-colored skin lesions and localized itchin...learn more >>
Bee and Wasp Stings
Bee and Wasp Stings Bees and Wasps are venomous, meaning they have poison stings that may cause pain, swelling, and allergic reactions. If a person with no allergic symptoms receiv...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Insect Bites:

Insect Bites - Experience

Please describe your experience with insect bites.

Insect Bites - Treatment

What was the treatment for your insect bites?

Insect Bites - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your insect bites?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bites, Insect »

Insects comprise the most diverse and numerous class of the animal kingdom, Insecta.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary