Bites and stings from insects (bees, wasps,
yellow jackets) and spiders usually cause
pain, swelling, redness, and itching at the
site of the sting or bite. In some people,
especially children, the redness and swelling
may be worse and last up to a few days.
A few people have severe reactions
to the toxin injected by the insect or spider. A toxic reaction occurs when insect or spider venom acts like a
poison in the body. This type of reaction can occur from one bite or sting from
a highly toxic insect or spider, or from multiple bites or stings from insects
or spiders not normally considered poisonous.
Has a very high, weak pulse rate and rapid shallow breathing, especially when combined with high or low blood pressure
Is unconscious, disoriented, or has a high body temperature
Has warm, dry skin, elevated or lowered blood pressure, and is hyperventilating
Symptoms of a toxic reaction vary depending on the insect or spider,
the toxicity of the venom, and the amount of venom injected. Most often,
symptoms improve or go away within 48 hours. Although hives and difficulty
breathing may occur in an allergic reaction, these symptoms will not occur in a
toxic reaction. It is possible to have both a toxic reaction and an allergic
reaction at the same time.
A toxic reaction may require immediate medical care or may lead to death. Signs and symptoms of a toxic reaction may include:
Nausea or vomiting.
swelling at the site of the bite or sting.
In addition to injecting venom, the sting or bite may also cause an infection that could require medical care. Symptoms of infection may include:
Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness near the bite or sting.
Red streaks leading from the bite or sting.
Pus draining from the bite or sting.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this