Health Watch - Bites and Stings: Treating Bites

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about insect and animal bites and stings. If you do get bitten or stung, pay attention to the way the bite feels.

It’s normal for a bug bite to itch. But Dr. Robin Carder, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says it’s a problem when the bite becomes sore. That’s a sign that the bite may have become infected. A bite may swell and turn red or even develop a blister, but it should be more itchy than sore. Other signs of infection include redness that spreads from the bite, pus or discharge, or if the bite gets worse instead of better with time. An antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream can help ease the itch of a bug bite, but see a doctor if you think an infection is developing. If you have allergic reactions to bites or stings, you may need to carry an epinephrine pen for immediate treatment.


June 2010

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