What to Do If You're Stung by an Insect

Updated on Friday, July 1, 2016

  • Calmly brush the insect away and leave the area.
  • If the stinger remains in the skin, remove it by flicking your fingers at it or by scraping it off with something like a credit card. Do not use tweezers as this may further express the venom.
  • Reduce swelling by applying a wet compress.
  • Watch for any of the following symptoms that could indicate an allergic reaction requiring immediate medical attention:
    • Itching, swelling or hives in areas other than the sting site
    • Difficulty breathing and/or tightness in the chest
    • Hoarse voice and swelling of the throat/tongue
    • Dizziness or confusion
    • Severe headache
    • Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Shock, unconsciousness or cardiac arrest
  • If you have been prescribed an epinephrine autoinjector, use it immediately and proceed to the emergency room or call 911.
  • See an allergist for testing and treatment options

For more information on identifying types of stinging reactions, as well as testing and treatment options for insect sting allergy, visit http://www.atlantaallergy.com/what-we-treat/insect-sting-allergies.