When is an insect sting an emergency?

Insect bites and stings in children are usually a painful nuisance that can respond well to treatment at home. But some spiders and insects can be very poisonous. Therefore, it is important to look out for these symptoms to determine if emergency care is necessary.

If your child has any of these symptoms after a spider bite, seek emergency room (ER) care:
  • severe pain anywhere on the body
  • redness and warmth around the bite
  • severe cramping
  • drainage from the bite
  • vomiting
For bee or wasp stings, a large rash or swelling around the sting area or pain/swelling lasting a few days warrants a call to your pediatrician as these symptoms may indicate an infection. A severe allergic reaction would be indicated by:
  • difficulty breathing/ tightness in the throat
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness or fainting
  • facial swelling
Most of the time, insect stings are harmless. If the person is allergic, an insect sting can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.