Mild localized itching, swelling, or discomfort warrants contacting your healthcare provider for guidance.
If local symptoms worsen over several days, it may indicate an infection at the sting site, characterized by pain, increased swelling, redness, and warmth. In such cases, call your healthcare provider for a same-day appointment.
If you've had a reaction in the past, even if you've used an epinephrine injection kit for the sting, it's essential to go immediately to your medical office or the nearest hospital emergency department. You still need evaluation to ensure your symptoms are resolving and not recurring.
Hives, rash, swelling all over your body, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and dizziness or fainting are signs of an anaphylactic reaction and require immediate medical attention.
For most insect stings, home care is sufficient.
Don't be alarmed if the reaction takes 2-5 days to heal. Continue treatment until all symptoms disappear. In cases of severe reactions, do not attempt self-treatment. Call your healthcare provider or 911 based on symptom severity. Do not drive yourself. If immediate transportation is unavailable, call for an ambulance. For symptoms of anaphylaxis, here's what to do while awaiting the ambulance:
Ensure that all your healthcare providers are aware of the type of reaction you experienced. If you had a severe or widespread reaction, you should receive a prescription for an epinephrine injection kit (EpiPen) upon leaving the hospital.
If you've experienced a severe or widespread reaction to an insect sting, consult an allergist for desensitization therapy, which is available for some types of venom allergies.
Take precautions to avoid future insect stings:
Evaluation by an allergist for desensitization injections can be beneficial. Obtain one or more epinephrine injection kits if prescribed, keeping them in convenient locations and ensuring family members and close friends know how to use them. In case of kit use, seek immediate medical attention from your healthcare provider or a hospital emergency department.