You’ve been attacked by a nasty insect – now what? Unless you have a severe allergy to insect venom, a sting or bite does not require an emergency room visit. A bug bite or sting can come with redness, swelling, itching and overall discomfort. There are a few basic steps for every victim to follow and there are a few treatment options for those who prefer a more natural, more organic route.
- Remain as calm and quiet as possible – movement increases the spread of venom in the bloodstream; if the insect is still close by, remain quiet until you can seek indoor shelter, this will keep the insect from feeling threatened and will keep you from sustaining further injury
- Remove the stinger as quickly as possible
- Apply an ice pack to the bite or sting for 15 to 20 minutes once an hour for the first six hours; always keep a cloth between the skin and the ice pack
- You may want to take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, to relieve the itching
For those who wish to avoid conventional medicine and try something new, try these natural solutions:
- Dip your forefinger in water, dab it in sugar, and touch the sting site to relive swelling and itching
- Lay a slice of papaya on the sting for one hour; the papaya contains enzymes that neutralize insect venom
- To stop the itching, dab on a drop or two of lavender oil, wait about 15 minutes for oil to take effect; if the area starts to itch again, apply more, but just one or two drops at a time
- Apply a drop or two of peppermint oil; it has a cooling effect and increases circulation to the bite
- Honey is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and will relieve the temptation to scratch
- Mix equal parts skim milk and water, dip a thin cloth in the concoction and apply to your skin
- Placing a cool tea bag on the site of the sting or bite will draw the venom out of the site, reducing swelling and itching
- If you’re completely covered in bites, add two or three cups of vinegar to warm water and treat yourself to a nice, relaxing soak in the bathtub; the vinegar has just enough acid to effectively reduce the itching from the bites
Bug bites and stings can be extremely uncomfortable, but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the pain and set your skin at ease.