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Insect Bites (cont.)

Insect Bites Medical Treatment

Treatment for serious reactions to stings or bites should be done in the emergency department. Treatment may begin with epinephrine (subcutaneous); diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and steroids (drugs in the cortisone family) are also usually given IV. Oral antibiotics may be given for infected bite wounds. For seriously ill people, an IV will be started, oxygen given, and a heart monitor used until the symptoms have improved with medications.

For those bites and stings that lead to transmission of pathogenic organisms, the next step is to see health care professionals to obtain a definitive diagnosis so appropriate treatment(s) may be done. The treatments for diseases that are transmitted are designed for each disease; the reader should go to the diagnosed disease (for example, Lyme disease, malaria, West Nile virus, tularemia, plague, typhus, and many others) for specific treatment plans.

In the emergency department, you may be instructed how to use an emergency kit in case of future stings to prevent a severe reaction that could result in death. The anaphylaxis kit contains an epinephrine injector, tourniquet, and an antihistamine.

You may be referred to an allergist for desensitization therapy. After testing to determine which venom you are sensitive to, the doctor will gradually increase the doses of venom injected over time. Desensitization is usually effective in preventing a severe reaction to future stings.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2014

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