Venomous insects bite or sting people as a way to defend themselves. They inject a poison (venom) into a person through their mouth or stinger, which causes a reaction.
Examples of common venomous bites or stings are those from bees, wasps, hornets, yellowjackets, and fire ants.
When bitten or stung by a venomous insect, a person will feel a sharp pain at the site, followed by redness and swelling of the area affected. A delayed response might include hives, painful joints, fever, and swollen glands.
Some people may have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the venom that happens very quickly. It causes swelling in the face, breathing difficulty, nausea, abdominal pain, an itchy body rash, and loss of blood pressure and circulation (shock). This is a life-threatening situation and requires immediate emergency medical attention.
Most of the time, venomous bites and stings are just nuisances that can be treated at home with pain relievers, topical ointments (applied to the skin), and antihistamines. Bites from more dangerous insects (such as black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, and scorpions) are rare but life threatening, and must be treated in an emergency room.
For people who have known allergic reactions to bites and stings, carrying epinephrine or some other type of emergency kit with them can be lifesaving.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|National Park Service This site contains information on America's national parks and the many ways you can enjoy the great outdoors.|
|Babysitting: Dealing With Allergic Reactions What should you do if a child you're babysitting has an allergic reaction? Our tip sheet can help you be prepared.|
|Camping and Woods Safety Ah, the great outdoors! Find out how to stay safe while you're exploring the woods.|
|First Aid: Spider Bites Most spider bites cause mild reactions, but some can cause serious illness or allergic reactions. Here's what to do if you think your child was bitten by a spider.|
|Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! Fire ants think they're hot stuff. Learn how to handle them in this article for kids.|
|Hey! A Tarantula Bit Me! A tarantula is a black, hairy spider that is about two to three inches long. Learn all about spiders and tarantulas in this fun article for kids.|
|Babysitting: Dealing With Bug Bites and Stings What should you do if a child you're babysitting is bitten or stung? Our tip sheet can help you be prepared.|
|Hey! A Scorpion Stung Me! Scorpions are about three inches long (about the length of a crayon), with eight legs and a small pair of claws that look like crabs' claws. Read all about them.|
|Hey! A Bee Stung Me! Bee, or honeybee, is the word many people use to describe any flying insect that has wings and a stinger. Learn more about bees.|
|Hey! A Black Widow Spider Bit Me! The black widow spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about them!|
|Hey! A Brown Recluse Spider Bit Me! The brown recluse spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about the brown recluse spider.|
|Bug Bites and Stings In most cases, bug bites and stings are just nuisances. But in some cases, they can cause infections and allergic reactions. It's important to know the signs, and when to get medical attention.|
|Bug Bites and Stings Generally, insect bites and stings are harmless. Find out how to keep pests from ruining your fun.|
|A to Z: Insect Bites/Stings, Non-Venomous Bites from non-venomous insects are the result of an insect attempting to feed upon a person's blood. Non-venomous means the insect does not inject poisons through its bite.|
|What to Do When You're Bugged by Bugs Ugh. Bugs. They're cool, but they also can ruin your day by stinging or biting you. Find out how to handle them in this article.|
|First Aid: Insect Stings and Bites Being stung by a bug is often just irritating and doesn't require medical treatment. But kids who are highly allergic to stings may need emergency medical care.|
|Woods and Camping Safety for the Whole Family A family camping trip can be an enjoyable experience with a little preparation.|
|Insect Sting Allergy Insect sting allergies can cause serious reactions. Find out how to keep kids safe.|
|Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) A person with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This reaction can seem scary, but the good news is it can be treated.|
|Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) Kids with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The good news is it can be prevented and treated.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.