FAQ’s About Insect Stings

Tottori Allergy & Ashtma - FAQ's About Insect StingsThese five insects – hornets, honeybees, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants – are known to cause allergic reactions to the venom injected into the skin. While most people are not allergic to insect venom, the pain and irritation from a sting can distract from the severity of the sting. Knowing the difference between a normal reaction and an allergic reaction is critical.


  • Normal – Causes pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site.
  • Large Local Reaction – causes swelling that extends beyond the sting site.
  • Anaphylactic Reaction – Trouble breathing, rapid pulse, hives and rashes beyond the sting, wheezing or trouble swallowing.


  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Pimple-like spots/hives
  • Mild to moderate swelling
  • Warmth
  • Itching
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling- face, throat, mouth
  • Wheezing or trouble swallowing
  • Rapid pulse


  • Wash the stung area with soap and water, then apply an antiseptic.
  • Apply a soothing ointment, like a hydrocortisone cream.
  • Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area.
  • Take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to ease itching, swelling, and hives.


  • Wear shoes and socks when outdoors.
  • Avoid wearing perfumes or brightly colored clothing.
  • Consider using screens on windows and doors at home.
  • Avoid or remove insect-attracting plants and vines growing in and around the home.