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Bees, hornets, yellow jackets, wasps, fire ants, and mosquitoes can sting or bite.

Even though most insect bites or stings can be painful, itchy, or uncomfortable, they are usually not a problem. However, insect stings or bites can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

  • If stung and you see the stinger, remove the stinger by scraping a card, like a driver’s license or credit card, across the wound. Do not squeeze the bite site.
  • Wash the area with warm, soapy water and place a cold cloth over the area to help the swelling go down.
  • Take aspirin or ibuprofen for pain; take diphenhydramine to treat allergic reactions like minor itching and swelling. Do not use both diphenhydramine-containing pills and cream at the same time because you could give yourself too much of the same medicine. Follow the package directions for how much to take or use and how often to take it or use it.

Call 911 immediately if your chest is tight or hurts, if you have problems breathing, a lot of swelling around the face or neck, or a rash that covers most of your body.


Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this site for questions about a bite, sting or for more information.

Last Updated on 04/27/2022