You’re not the only one who enjoys the warm temps of summer. At this time of year, insects are very active and they don’t like the ways we humans tend to invade their turf. Thankfully, while most bug bites are itchy and uncomfortable, they’re usually quite harmless. But some bites and stings have some bark to their bite. Fire ant bites and wasp, hornet and bee stings can cause intense pain and even allergic reactions for some.
If a bite is giving you trouble, you can treat it on your own. “A cool compress or indirect ice on the affected area will relieve the swelling,” says nurse practitioner Erin Scott of Beaufort Memorial Lowcountry Medical Group. “To alleviate itching, soak the affected area in an oatmeal bath and then apply cortisone cream.” An oral antihistamine can help, too. If you develop a blister, don’t break it, Scott says. Broken blisters can lead to an infection, as can scratching the bite area. “The bite will get better on its own in about a week,” Scott says. “But if you notice an increase in redness or a foul-smelling drainage, go see a health care provider.”
If you’re having more serious issues with a bite or suspect you may have an allergic reaction, get in touch with your family or primary care provider.