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Overview - Insect bites and stings

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:

Symptoms of insect bites and stings

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:

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.

Treating insect bites and stings

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.

Preventing insect bites and stings

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 25 March 2021
Next review due: 25 March 2024

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.