Insect Sting Allergy Treatment
Call 911 if the person has:
- Trouble breathing
- Feelings of faintness or dizziness
- A swollen tongue
- A history of severe allergy reaction to insect stings
If the person does not have severe allergy symptoms:
1. Remove the Stinger
- Scrape the area with a fingernail or use tweezers to remove it.
- Don't pinch the stinger -- that can inject more venom.
2. Control Swelling
- Ice the area.
- If you were stung on your arm or leg, elevate it.
- Remove any tight-fitting jewelry from the area of the sting. As it swells, rings or bracelets might be difficult to remove.
3. Treat Symptoms
- For pain, take an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Do not give aspirin to anyone under age 18.
- For itchiness, take an antihistamine. You can also apply a mixture of baking soda and water or calamine lotion.
- It might take 2-5 days for the area to heal. Keep it clean to prevent infection.
If the person does have severe allergy symptoms (anaphylaxis):
1. Call 911
Seek emergency care if the person has any of these symptoms or a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), even if there are no symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Tightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closing
- Hoarseness or trouble speaking
- Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting
- Fast heartbeat or pulse
- Skin that severely itches, tingles, swells, or turns red
- Anxiety or dizziness
- Loss of consciousness
2. Inject Epinephrine Immediately
If the person has an anaphylaxis action plan from a doctor for injecting epinephrine and other emergency measures, follow it. Otherwise, if the person carries an epinephrine shot or one is available:
- Inject epinephrine if the person is unable to.
- If the person has a history of anaphylaxis, don't wait for signs of a severe reaction to inject epinephrine.
- Read and follow patient instructions carefully.
- Inject epinephrine into outer muscle of the thigh. Avoid injecting into a vein or buttock muscles.
- Do not inject medicine into hands or feet, which can cause tissue damage. If this happens, notify emergency room staff.
- The person may need more than one injection if there's no improvement after the first. For an adult, inject again after 10 to 20 minutes. For a child, inject again after 5 to 30 minutes.
- A person should always go to the ER after an epinephrine injection, even if the symptoms subside.
3. Do CPR if the Person Stops Breathing
- Make sure that someone stays with the person for 24 hours after anaphylaxis in case of another attack.
- Report the reaction to the person's doctor.