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Three Steps To Take To Cope With Insect Stings

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If you've been stung by an insect and have already removed any stingers or other insect parts from your body, you are likely not looking forward to the days of itching or pain as the reaction dies down. Coping with a sting is never fun, so trying remedies to get the itch and pain to go away should be something to look into. Here are three steps to take to make those stings less of a problem.


Medications are an obvious option but are not always used. These should be a first line of treatment, especially if you're dealing with an allergy. It should go without saying (but always bears repeating anyway) that if you have a severe allergy, you need to keep an epinephrine pen with you or another treatment that targets the allergic symptoms immediately. For milder allergies or run-of-the-mill reactions, though, some aspirin or ibuprofen, and an over-the-counter antihistamine should work.


One of the factors that makes an insect sting so difficult to deal with is that the pain or itching can be so intense, especially if you have an bad allergy, that it seems to take over your entire body. Even though you might know that it's just something on your arm, the immediacy of the problem can make the effects of the sting seem more widespread. It helps to train your mind to compartmentalize the sting and its effects and limit them to just the spot where the sting is. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by the itch or the pain, visualize the itch or pain shrinking until it's just on top of that one spot. That can often be enough to let you relax and to let the itch or pain seem like it's less intense.

Home Remedies

Home remedies often get a bad wrap as just being old tales that don't really work. However, there are some home remedies that you may want to try, especially if the sting is from a bee. In a 2003 article for Slate, writer Chip Brantley considered a bee sting that he got to be an opportunity to test out several home remedies. The winners were:

  • Spreading toothpaste on the sting site.
  • Holding ice to the sting for about 20 minutes.
  • A mix of vinegar, meat tenderizer, and baking soda, which Brantley said took about 20 minutes to kick in before soothing the pain for several hours.

Of course, if the itching or pain gets worse or simply won't go away, it's time for a trip to the allergist. You could have developed more of a sensitivity to the insect, and you want to be sure that you have the right remedies on hand should you be stung again. For more information, consider sites like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com.