Most bites and stings will
heal on their own without a visit to a doctor. There are several things you can
do to relieve pain and itching and prevent infection from a bite or
Insect or spider bites or stings or contact with caterpillars
Move away from the stinging or biting insect.
Bees will alert other bees, making them more likely to
Remain as calm and quiet as possible. Movement increases the
spread of venom in the bloodstream.
If you have been stung by a bee
and the stinger is still in the skin,
remove the stinger as quickly as
If you have been stung on the arm or leg, lower the limb
at the time of the sting to slow the spread of venom. Hours later, if swelling
is present, you can elevate the limb to help reduce swelling.
contact with a
puss caterpillar, remove broken-off spines by placing cellophane tape or
commercial facial peel over the area of the contact and pulling it off.
If you have been stung by a scorpion, see a doctor right away. There is a now a medicine (antidote) for scorpion stings.
Relieve pain, itching, and swelling
ice pack to a bite or sting for 15 to 20 minutes once an hour for the first
6 hours. When not using ice, keep a cool, wet cloth on the bite or sting for up
to 6 hours. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack. Do not
apply ice for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and do not fall asleep
with the ice on your skin.
Elevate the area of the bite or sting
to decrease swelling.
antihistamine taken by mouth, such as Benadryl or
Chlor-Trimeton, may help relieve itching, redness, and swelling. Don't give
antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
A spray of
local anesthetic containing benzocaine, such as Solarcaine, may help relieve
pain. If your skin reacts to the spray, stop using it.
Hydrocortisone 1% cream or calamine lotion applied to the skin may help relieve itching
and redness. Note: Do not use the cream on children
younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to. Do not use in the rectal or
vaginal area in children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
After the first 6 hours, if swelling is not
present, try applying warmth to the site for comfort.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Be sure to follow
these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Carefully read and follow all
directions on the medicine bottle and box.