Insect Bite

ExitCare ImageMosquitoes, flies, fleas, bedbugs, and other insects can bite. Insect bites are different from insect stings. The bite may be red, puffy (swollen), and itchy for 2 to 4 days. Most bites get better on their own.


  • Do not scratch the bite.

  • Keep the bite clean and dry. Wash the bite with soap and water.

  • Put ice on the bite.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 4 times a day. Do this for the first 2 to 3 days, or as told by your doctor.

  • You may use medicated lotions or creams to lessen itching as told by your doctor.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.

  • If you are given medicines (antibiotics), take them as told. Finish them even if you start to feel better.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

  • The injury broke your skin.

If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, you may get tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.


  • You have more pain, redness, or puffiness.

  • You see a red line on the skin coming from the bite.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have joint pain.

  • You have a headache or neck pain.

  • You feel weak.

  • You have a rash.

  • You have chest pain, or you are short of breath.

  • You have belly (abdominal) pain.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).

  • You feel very tired or sleepy.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.