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Bites and Stings

Bee on a Daisy

What Are Symptoms of Bee and Insect Stings?

Most bee and insect stings cause only mild to moderate symptoms, such as pain, redness, swelling, and itching. These usually subside within a few days.

Mild to moderate allergic reactions can be treated at Willis Urgent Care, with no appointment necessary. If the person stung shows signs of a severe reaction, call 911.

What to Do for a Bee Sting or Insect Bite

Although painful, most bee, hornet, and wasp stings aren’t serious. Any pain and itching should subside within a few days. For those with a bee sting allergy, however, bee and wasp stings can be serious or even life-threatening. Make sure you pay attention to signs of a severe allergic reaction.


What to Do for a Bee Sting or Wasp Bite Allergic Reaction

Some people have severe allergic reactions to insect bites and stings. A severe allergic reaction to a bee, wasp, or hornet sting—known as anaphylaxis—is a life-threatening emergency.

Call 911 for help if you notice any of the following symptoms, or if the victim is a child with a scorpion sting:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Swelling of the tongue, lips, eyelids, or throat

  • Hives

  • Rapid pulse

  • Nausea, vomiting, cramps, or diarrhea

  • Dizziness, fainting, confusion, or loss of consciousness

If none of these symptoms is present, you can treat and cure a mild sting at home, or seek medical help at

Willis Urgent Care.

How to Treat a Bee or Wasp Sting?

Most stings cause only mild discomfort and symptoms should subside within a day or two. For bee or wasp sting relief, and to lessen the severity of the reaction, take the following steps:

  • Move the victim to avoid more stings

  • Lower the affected area below heart level immediately to reduce the spread of venom

  • Remove the stinger if it is still present (you can use a credit card to scrape it out)

  • Keep the victim as calm and quiet as possible

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water


If it’s been longer than 10 years since the last tetanus booster, visit Willis Urgent Care.  Also, if there’s a mild to moderate allergic reaction to a bee sting or bug bite, our clinicians will be glad to help!

For wasp and bee sting treatment, a Willis Urgent Care clinician may prescribe the following:

  • Applying cool compresses to decrease swelling

  • Elevating the area to reduce pain and swelling

  • Treating pain with hydrocortisone or an over-the-counter pain medication* such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen


If you’ve previously been stung by a fire ant, you may have a more severe reaction to bee and wasp stings, as they contain the same type of venom.  *Follow the medical directions for each of these medications, and pay particular attention to the directions for children under two years of age.

What to Put on a Bee or Wasp Sting

Most bee, wasp, and hornet stings cause only a mild reaction. For these, use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to help relieve itching, swelling, and redness. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton can also be used if itching and swelling are more severe.

Cover the area with a bandage to prevent scratching the sting. If the skin breaks while scratching, this can potentially lead to infection. Visit your Willis Urgent Care if the site becomes infected.

What to Do for Bee Sting and Wasp Bite Swelling

Cool compresses should help you avoid swelling. Any swelling that remains can be alleviated by elevating the area and using hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton can be taken if itching and swelling become more severe.

For more information on Bites and Stings, see the following websites:


Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of Willis Urgent Care. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.

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