Treating bites and stings

Usually, you can take care of your bites and stings at home with your parents' help. Here's what to do:

Mosquitoes, fleas and other small bugs

  • Wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Use calamine (rhymes with "pal–of–mine") lotion or another cream that will help you stop the itch.
  • Don't scratch the bites, even though that's hard because they itch a lot!
  • Put ice on a swollen bite.
  • See a doctor if your bite looks worse or you just can't stop scratching. Talk to your mom, dad, or another adult about it.

Bees and wasps

  • Tell a grown-up right away that you've been stung.
  • Take out the stinger if it's still in your skin – ask a grown-up for help.
  • Gently wash the sting with soap and water. You might have to do this a few times a day.
  • Put an icepack on the sting.
  • Apply a paste made with baking soda and water. Baking soda is something people cook with, but it also can make stings feel a lot better. Ask an adult to help you do this.
  • Ask your mom or dad if you can take some pain medicine.
  • Use some lotion or cream to stop the itch if it's bothering you.

Sometimes, stings can be dangerous. To learn if you might have an allergic reaction to the sting, visit Reactions to bites and stings.

Spiders

Most spider bites can be treated by a grown-up.

  • Wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Put on an ice pack to make it less puffy.

If you think a black widow or brown recluse spider bit you, tell a grown-up right away. You might need to see a doctor and go to the hospital.

Ticks

  • Don't pull off a tick if you find one on your skin, but tell your mom, dad or another adult right away.
  • An adult should grab the tick with a tweezers close to your skin and pull straight up to remove the tick.
  • Carefully look over the rest of your body. With your parents' help, check all over, including behind the ears, to be sure there are no other ticks.
  • Never squeeze or crush a tick, because that can cause more venom to enter your body.
  • Save the tick in a jar of alcohol in case your doctor wants to see it later. The doctor might be able to tell you if this is the kind of tick that can cause Lyme disease, which can feel like the flu. To learn more, visit Reactions to bites and stings.

Next: Reactions to bites and stings.