BEE STINGS: Common during warm weather. Some are allergic to bee stings & need immediate medical attention. Photo: Magnus Hagdon/Wikimedia Commons


It’s almost summer, and bug bites and bee stings are often inevitable as we head outdoors. A simple mosquito bite is nothing to worry about, but there are times when a bite or sting could mean a trip to the emergency room.

The UMHS Endeavour looks at advice from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) about when to seek medical attention for a bug bite or sting, based on an article on MedlinePlus and a press release from the AAD.


When a Bite or Sting Requires a Doctor’s Attention

The American Academy of Dermatology says to go to the emergency room immediately if you experience the following after a bite or sting:

  • Difficulty breathing,
  • The feeling that your throat is closing,
  • Swelling of lips, tongue or face,
  • Chest pain,
  • A racing heartbeat for more than a few minutes,
  • Dizziness or headache,
  • Vomiting.
  • A red rash resembling a donor or bulls-eye target after a tick bite, or a fever with a spreading red or black spotty rash. These might be signs of a serious illness spread by a tick.

“Although most bug bites and stings do not turn into a severe or even fatal illness like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms,” Dr. Margaret Parsons, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis, said in a press release.

Dr. Parsons advises seeing a doctor if you feel tired, experience a headache, fever or body ache or if you get a rash after a bug bite.

Otherwise, most bites and stings are not cause for alarm. Dr. Parsons said most “can be safely treated at home with topical medication, such as hydrocortisone cream or ointment, or an oral antihistamine to reduce the itch.”

About UMHS:

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