Reactions to bites and stings

Reactions to bites and stings

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Most bites and stings don't hurt you, but some can be dangerous, especially if you are allergic to the venom, or if the bug is carrying a disease.

Allergies to bites and stings

Some people are allergic to bug venom, especially from bees. When an allergy happens, your body overreacts and sends "fighter" cells to combat the venom. This can cause some scary symptoms. If you have been bitten or stung, especially by many insects at the same time, look out for these dangerous signs:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Red bumps (hives) in places where you were not stung.
  • A red and swollen bite that gets worse over time.
  • Headache or dizzy feeling.
  • Coughing or choking.
  • Throwing up or feeling as if you are going to throw up.
  • Pains in your chest.
  • Heart beating very fast.
  • Lips, tongue, or face are swollen.

These are dangerous signs. Tell an adult to take you to the emergency room right away!

Some insects carry disease

Most bug bites don't make you sick, but some mosquitoes and ticks carry diseases like West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Even though you probably won't get sick, it's still important to try to keep bugs from biting you. Know what to look for if you are bitten:

  • You feel tired all the time, or have a headache, fever, or body aches. You might think you have the flu. 
  • You get a rash on your skin.  Days after a tick bite, you might get a red, doughnut-shaped rash where the tick bit you. This can be a sign of Lyme disease. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause a red to black spotty rash.
  • If you notice these signs, tell a grown-up so you can see a doctor.

Next: Eczema: Itchy skin.