Most insect bites and stings are not serious and will get better in a few hours or days.
Symptoms of insect bites and stings
The main symptoms of an insect bite or sting are:
- pain or itchiness where you were bitten or stung
- a swollen lump on the skin
Sometimes an insect bite can:
- become infected
- cause a mild or serious allergic reaction
- spread serious illnesses such as Lyme disease, scabies and malaria
What to do if you've been bitten or stung
You can treat most insect bites and stings at home.
They can be treated by:
- removing the stinger, tick or caterpillar hairs if they're still in or on the skin
- washing the affected area with soap and water
The pain, swelling and itchiness may last a few days. Ask your pharmacist about medicines that can ease your symptoms, such as creams, antihistamines and painkillers.
Preventing insect bites and stings
You can reduce your risk of being bitten or stung by insects.
You may need to take extra precautions if you're travelling abroad. For example, you may be advised to take antimalarial tablets to help prevent malaria.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE