Symptoms of insect bites and stings
Insect bites and stings will usually cause a red, swollen lump to develop on the skin. This may be painful and in some cases can be very itchy.
The symptoms will normally improve within a few hours or days, although sometimes they can last a little longer.
Some people have a mild allergic reaction and a larger area of skin around the bite or sting becomes swollen, red and painful. This should pass within a week.
Occasionally, a severe allergic reaction can occur, causing symptoms such as breathing difficulties, dizziness and a swollen face or mouth. This requires immediate medical treatment.
To treat an insect bite or sting:
Remove the sting or tick if it’s still in the skin.
Wash the affected area with soap and water.
Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least ten minutes.
Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
Avoid scratching the area, to reduce the risk of infection.
Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they’re unlikely to help.
The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days. Ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter treatments that can help, such as painkillers, creams for itching and antihistamines.