Insect bites or stings can be painful and sometimes deadly. Most often bites or stings do not require medical care but an allergic reaction from the sting can be an emergency situation. If a sting occurs from a honey bee, remove the stinger. Do not use tweezers since pinching the stinger will cause more venom to be released. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, observe the site for signs of infection (such as increasing redness, swelling, pain).
Review Date 4/28/2023
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.