5 Ways to Treat Common Bug Bite Symptoms

May 7th 2016

Individuals who are allergic to certain types of bug bites may require immediate medical care, which often results in administering an epinephrine auto-injector to treat an allergic attack. A bug bite that produces difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, nausea or vomiting and swelling of the throat, lips and eyelids should prompt a visit to the emergency room.

Baking Soda Paste

Individuals suffering from mosquito and other common bug bites can reduce the itching and swelling by applying a paste of baking soda and water to the affected area of the skin. A baking soda paste may also reduce the sting of the bite or remove the stinger completely.

Oral Medications

Bug bites can often produce allergic reactions and swelling of the skin. Antihistamines such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton can minimize the effects of a bug bite reaction and reduce swelling. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help to reduce pain.

Cold Compresses

A cool compress applied to the bug bite can help to reduce swelling and discomfort from the sting. The area of the skin should be washed with soap and water before applying a cold compress. Bug bites on the legs or arms may heal faster when elevated. Cold compresses or ice packs should be left on the bite or sting area for 15 to 20 minutes each hour for the first six hours following the bite. A dry cloth should be placed between the skin and the ice pack for best results.

Topical Ointments

Lotions, creams or gels that contain hydrocortisone, lidocaine or pramoxine help to control pain associated with a bug bite or sting. Individuals with a bug bite can soothe itchy skin by also applying calamine lotion or colloidal oatmeal to the affected area. It is important to avoid scratching the affected area because an infection could develop if the skin breaks.

Rest and Elevation

A serious reaction to a bug bite can leave people feeling fatigued and swollen. Bug bites on the limbs heal faster when elevated and rested. The first six hours after a bug bite should include ample rest, application of cold compresses and heat, followed by elevation of the affected limb to reduce swelling and pain caused by the bug bite or sting.


Many bug stings and bites heal on their own, but it may be necessary to treat the symptoms. Extreme symptoms that produce vomiting or nausea may require intervention from a medical professional. Mild symptoms can be treated with home remedies to ease swelling and discomfort caused by a bug bite or sting.

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