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Insect bites or stings

Date issued: May 2021

Review date: May 2023

Ref: D-355/JS/Learning Disability Team/Insect bites or stings

PDF:  Insect bites or stings final May 2021.pdf [pdf] 660KB

What may happen after a bite or sting:

After an insect bite or sting your skin may have some kind of reaction.

Skin reaction: a small itchy lump with redness around the area

Skin infection: you may get an infection if you scratch the area a lot. This makes the skin red and sore

Allergic reaction: sometimes you might have an allergic reaction which causes the area you've been bitten or stung on to swell

Disease: in hot countries mosquito bites can carry diseases and in the UK tick bites can carry Lyme disease


In some cases people may have a very strong allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting. This is called anaphylaxis and can cause:

  • A persons face, lips, tongue or throat to swell

  • The person to feel sick

  • A persons heart to beat faster

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing

If you develop any of these symptoms you or someone you are with must call 999 and ask for an ambulance

Treating your sting or bite:

Stings: if you can see a sting take it out. You will not need any treatment if you have not had a reaction.

Redness: if your skin goes red or puffs up put a cold flannel or clean wet tea towel on the area. You can take painkillers if you need them.

Itching: if your skin is very itchy you can talk to your local chemist about antihistamine creams or tablets. These will help soothe the itching.

Tick bites: if you are bitten by a tick remove the tick as soon as possible by twisting it out. Clean the area with soap and warm water. If you get a rash or high temperature you must see your doctor.

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