Symptoms of an insect bite result from the injection of venom or other agents into the skin. A minor bite causes a bump that may itch for a few hours, then disappears over several days. If the venom is potent (such as from certain spiders and scorpions) or if you are hypersensitive to the venom, the entire body may react. Tick bites may also be dangerous.


Remove bee stingers in a way that will not inject more venom. Apply a cold wet cloth, ice, or a paste of baking soda and water to reduce pain. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will reduce itching and inflammation.

If you know you are sensitive to bee stings, get a special emergency kit from your physician. If you find a tick stuck on your skin, pull it straight out with tweezers applied close to the skin. Wash your hands well. Scrub the area thoroughly with soap and water.

When to consult a healthcare provider

If you have any indications of infection (swelling, redness, pus drainage from the wound, or pain) or fever, headache, or other flu-like symptoms with your bite, consult your healthcare provider. To make an appointment at Student Health, call 319-335-8394.