An insect sting from a bee or a wasp can be painful but is not usually dangerous. An initial sharp pain is followed by mild swelling, redness and soreness. Certain types or multiple insect stings can produce a serious reaction. A sting in the mouth can be potentially dangerous because swelling can obstruct the airway. It is important to watch for signs of allergic reaction, which can lead to anaphylactic shock, with any insect bite or sting.
What to look for
- Pain at the site of the sting
- Redness and swelling around the site of the sting
What to do
Follow the steps below:
Reassure the casualty
If the sting is visible, brush or scrape it off sideways with the edge of a credit card or your fingernail as soon as possible.
Do not use tweezers as you may squeeze the sting and inject more poison into the casualty.
Raise the affected part and apply a cold compress for at least 20 minutes to minimise swelling. Advise the casualty to keep the compress in place for at least 10 mins. Tell them to seek medical advice if the pain and swelling persist.
Monitor breathing and level of response and watch for sign so of an allergic reaction such as wheezing and/or reddened, swollen, itchy skin.