How to Reduce Pain, Swelling, And Itching From A Bug Bite

Enjoying the great outdoors is wonderful, but not when insects like bees, ticks, and mosquitoes are around. Generally, bug bites are nothing to worry about, but there are a few insects that can spread insect-borne diseases such as malaria or Lyme disease. Knowing how to prevent bug bites and what medicine to treat bug bites can help people avoid a painful experience.

ReNue Rx What Medicine Should I Take For A Bug Bite

Prevention-first approach

The best way to treat a bug bite is to prevent the bite in the first place. An insect repellent with 20-30% DEET over skin and clothing can help. If using insect repellent with sunscreen, the sunscreen should be applied first and left to dry before applying the repellent. In addition, covering exposed skin with clothing and tucking in loose ends can help prevent bug bites.

Clean and ice the affected area

Immediately after getting a bug bite, an individual should clean the bug bite area with soap and water to avoid infection. For a bee sting, removing the stinger in the skin is suggested. Scraping instead of pinching the stinger out reduces the amount of venom injected into the skin. Afterward, people can apply a cold compress to the area to reduce the pain, itching, and swelling.


Mild pain can occur immediately after a bug bite. Bee stings, in particular, can be the most painful types of bug bites. Over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce pain sensitivity. Topical analgesics applied directly to the bug bite are affordable and easy to use.

Topical steroids

Topical steroids such as hydrocortisone can help reduce the inflammation produced after a bug bite. The topical solution can reduce swelling and discomfort. Topical steroids are especially recommended for atopic eczema triggered or worsened by bug bites. Individuals should use steroid creams sparingly to reduce side effects.


Antihistamines can be helpful to reduce the allergic reaction caused by the bug bite. Calamine lotion, a type of antihistamine cream, can reduce intense itching. If calamine lotion is not available, a paste made of baking soda and water will do. Apply the lotion multiple times a day for best results.

When to see a doctor

For the most part, bug bites produce mild symptoms and can be treated at home. However, on rare occasions, bug bites can develop into more severe symptoms such as fever, rash, or body aches. In the event that bug bite symptoms get worse, individuals are advised to visit a doctor or dermatologist immediately for a complete diagnosis.


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