Although insect bites and stings are a nuisance to all, some people can have life-threatening reactions. The most common threat is the bee or wasp and their many varieties. The typical reaction to a wasp or bee sting is a red or swollen area that forms around the sight of the sting that is only slightly painful. This is called a localized reaction in which the pain, redness, and swollen area typically resolve without any severe reactions. Localized reactions are often treated with one or a combination of the following: oral antihistamines for the itching and swelling, ibuprofen for swelling and pain, acetaminophen for pain and to alleviate any fever, and topical hydrocortisone cream to reduce the itching and swelling.
Most bug bites such as ticks, fleas, ants, bed bugs, lice, bees, wasps, and spiders elicit only localized reactions. There is, however, an inherent threat of systematic reactions that can stem from each of them. Ticks, for instance, are known to transmit Rocky Mountain Fever and Lyme disease; both of which can be combated by cleaning the sight with soapy water or alcohol and removing the tick carefully with tweezers.
A small number of the population can have a systematic reaction to bug bites and stings. A systematic reaction occurs when the poison from the aforementioned wasp or bee affects the person’s entire body rather than just the area where the bite or sting occurred. The most common symptoms of a systematic reaction include but are not limited to: swelling and itching of the face, lips, throat, or tongue, increased or rapid heartbeat, severe hives or whelps, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. Severe systematic reactions can be fatal if medical assistance isn’t hastily provided. Although fatalities do occur from bug bites and stings, modern medicine keeps this to a minimum.