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Insect and spider bites often cause minor swelling, redness, pain, and itching. These mild reactions are common and may last from a few hours to a few days. Home treatment is often all that is needed to relieve the symptoms of a mild reaction to common stinging or biting insects and spiders.
Some people have more severe reactions to bites or stings. Babies and children may be more affected by bites or stings than adults.
Examples of problems that are more serious include:
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
|Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.|
|Allergies: Should I Take Shots for Insect Sting Allergies?|
Most bites and stings will heal on their own without a visit to a doctor. There are several things you can do to relieve pain and itching and prevent infection from a bite or sting.
Insect or spider bites or stings or contact with caterpillars
Relieve pain, itching, and swelling
|Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:|
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
|Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
Prevent a skin infection
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
Take the following measures to help prevent bites and stings.
Additional measures include those to:
If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to bites or stings in the past:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||October 25, 2012|
Last Revised: October 25, 2012
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