Some people have severe reactions to the stings of:
- Yellow jackets
Sometimes, it may be hard to tell which type of insect has caused the skin reactions, as many insect reactions look the same. Flying insects tend to bite or sting uncovered (exposed) skin areas, while bugs such as fleas tend to bite the lower legs and around the waist, often with several bites grouped together.
Some people are far more sensitive to insects and have more severe reactions, so the fact that no one else in your family seems to be affected does not mean that your child has not suffered an insect bite.
There is no proven connection to race or sex in terms of how a person reacts to bites. However, some individuals clearly seem more attractive to insects, perhaps related to body heat, odor, or how much carbon dioxide they give off when they breathe.
About 0.5–5% of people living in the US are likely to have severe allergic reactions to stings.
Flying insects tend to bite exposed areas not covered by clothing, while some bugs (such as fleas) focus on the lower legs. Bedbugs prefer the head and neck area, often biting several times in the same area and leaving a group of lesions.
Common reactions to arthropod stings may include:
- Redness, pain, and swelling
- Severe reactions such as facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and shock
- Fever, hives, and painful joints (although these reactions are not as common)
- Bees may leave a stinger behind. Try to gently scrape the stinger off with a blunt object, such as a credit card.
- Wash the wound with soap and water.
- Apply an ice pack or cold water for a few minutes.
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for pain and an antihistamine (diphenhydramine or
chlorpheniramine) for itching, as needed.
- Wash with soap and water.
- Apply cool compresses.
- Use antihistamines to relieve itching, and take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.
- Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream to help reduce the itching.
- Using tweezers, grasp the tick as near the skin as possible and pull firmly
until it releases.
- Swab the area with alcohol or wash with soap and water.
- Save the tick for identification, if needed.
- Apply 1% hydrocortisone in case a reaction occurs.
Symptoms of these bites include:
- A deep blue or purple area around the bite, often with a surrounding white
area and a red outer ring
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle stiffness
When dealing with stings, watch out for symptoms such as:
- Hives, itching, or swelling in areas beyond the sting site
- Swelling of the lips or throat
- Tightness in the chest or difficulty breathing
- Hoarse voice or tongue swelling
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
For insect bites:
- Prescription topical corticosteroids
- Muscle relaxants
- Pain medicines
- An antidote against the specific toxin (antivenin)
- Sometimes surgery at the affected area, if the insect bite is severe
- Antihistamines or corticosteroids
- Injected (intravenous) fluids and oxygen for shock (anaphylaxis)
- Injectable epinephrine if your child is known to have severe allergic reactions
- Procedures to stimulate the immune system (immunotherapy) to reduce the chance of repeated severe reactions