Treating Insect and Bee Stings

In general, most insect and bee stings cause only mild reactions such as redness or itching. In severe cases, these stings can result in more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis (an acute allergic reaction) or loss of consciousness.

If you are concerned about the severity of your symptoms, Physicians Immediate Care is here to assist you. Here are common symptoms you should look for:

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Mild Symptoms

  • Sharp, burning sensation
  • Welting around sting
  • Swelling, lasting a few hours

Moderate Symptoms

  • Increased redness around the sting
  • Swelling beyond sting (usually, dissipates after 5-10 days)

Severe Symptoms

  • Rapid pulse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Swollen lips, throat, or tongue
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Anaphylaxis


For minor insect and bee stings, remove the stinger and wash the area with soap and water. To relieve swelling, apply a cool compress to the sting site. You can also apply a cream such as calamine lotion to reduce itching.

In cases of moderate stings, we encourage you to walk into any Physicians Immediate Care location near you to determine the best treatment. If you have a severe allergic reaction to an insect or bee sting, you should call
9-1-1 and seek emergency treatment immediately.