Tips for Treating Summer Stings

Five Star ER
Five Star ER

The bugs are really hopping and flying during these summer months, and that means the risk of a bite or a sting could be higher for you and your family. Dr. Brian Aldred is the Medical Director at Five Star ER and he explained what to do about summer stings.

Stings and bites and What to do

If you’re stung by a wasp, bee or hornet, you know about it! They inject venom into you, causing nasty pain followed by a red lump which usually goes away within hours. With a biting insect: midges, mosquitoes, horseflies, ticks and fleas, you may not realize you’ve been bitten until your skin reacts up to 24 hours later, causing an itchy red lump which takes days to fade.

Local Skin Reactions to the Sting

  • The main symptoms are pain, itching, swelling and redness at the sting site.
  • Severe pain or burning at the site lasts 1 to 2 hours. Itching often follows the pain.
  • The bee sting may swell for 48 hours after the sting. The swelling can be small or large. Stings on the face can cause a lot of swelling around the eye. It looks bad, but this is not serious. The swelling may last for 7 days.
  • Bee stings are often red. That doesn’t mean they are infected. Infections rarely happen with stings. The redness can last 3 days.

Care Advice that Should Help

  • Try to Remove the Stinger if present:
  • Only honey bees leave a stinger.
  • The stinger looks like a tiny black dot in the sting.
  • Use a fingernail or credit card edge to scrape it off.
  • If the stinger is below the skin surface, leave it alone. It will come out with normal skin shedding.

About Five Star ER
Five Star ER, based in Austin, Texas, is a freestanding emergency department owned and operated by Emergency Service Partners (ESP), a physician-owned group providing emergency medical care in Central Texas emergency rooms since 1988. ESP is also the exclusive provider of emergency physician services to the Seton Healthcare Family. Five Star ER, in partnership with the Seton Healthcare Family, leverages the existing relationship to offer continuity of care should there be a need for patient transfer. Operational hours for Five Star ER facilities are 24/7/365. For more information visit


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