Large Local Reaction: How Do You Manage Your Insect Sting?

Although most individuals experience minor reactions to ant, bee, and wasp stings, some insect stings can cause large local reactions in other adults and children. Large local reactions usually occur within 48 to 72 hours following an insect sting, or the reactions can occur sooner. If you experience severe pain, extensive swelling, or overwhelming itching in or around your insect bite several days after a sting, follow the tips below to soothe your symptoms.

Avoid Aggravating the Site

No matter what you do, don't rub, pick, or scratch the bite site with your fingers, tweezers, or another item. You can injure your skin if you do so. Instead, place a bag of frozen peas or an ice pack on the site to ease some of the swelling. 

Next, inspect the bite site for signs of infection, such as pus and red streaks. These types of symptoms may be dangerous for some individuals, especially older adults and small children who have previous problems with insect stings. If you see signs of infections in your sting site, visit your local emergency or urgent care center immediately.

If you don't see any signs of infection in your sting site, continue to ice the area until you schedule an appointment with a stinging insect doctor.

Seek Stinging Insect Reaction Treatment

Large local reactions can become worse without the proper care. The symptoms produced by stinging insects can last for weeks in some people. A stinging insect doctor, or allergist, can bring your symptoms under control with antihistamines and similar medications. After an allergy specialist controls your symptoms, they can see move forward with your care.

Because some people can become allergic to stinging insects, an allergist will need to test your blood and skin right away. If a doctor detects excessive proteins and antibodies in your blood, they can begin immunotherapy and other specialized treatment. If a bee or wasp stings you in the future, the treatments can help keep your immune system from overacting to the venom created by the insects.

After treatment, you can take many steps to prevent a large local reaction in the future. Try to avoid areas in your community that harbor stinging insects, such as a city park or wildlife sanctuary. If you work outdoors, be very aware of your surroundings. Bees, hornets, wasps, and other insects can attack if you invade their territory or venture too close to their homes. 

For more information about stinging insect reactions or how to treat and manage them, contact an allergy specialist right away.