During the summer season, there is often a presence of insects like mosquitoes, wasps and bees. Mosquito bites are very common, these insects are most present from late afternoon and onwards, but with the arrival of the tiger mosquito means that they are now present during the day. The puncture of this type of mosquito also causes an even greater reaction on the skin. Mosquitoes prefer wet or sweaty skin and dark clothes, and are also more prevalent in areas that have lakes or swamps and where there is standing water (i.e. ponds). For wasps and bees, there sting is a defensive mechanism. Bees can be considered in a way harmless, as they only sting if they feel danger to themselves or to their hive. The wasps are attracted by food and especially sweat foods that contain sugar, which is why the often buzz around tables that contain such foods. Wasps can use their sting multiple times, while bees die after they sting.

What are the symptoms associated with insect bites?

The mosquitoes inject a toxic allergy in the body, which in turn causes inflammation (wheal) which gives of an irritating itch for several minutes. Reactions can vary from person to person, some can be very large and following the bites can manifest into a fever.

If you are stung by a bee or wasp (including hornets), there are two reactions which may occur.

Non-allergic reaction

The non-allergic reaction is manifested by swelling, intense burning and itching at the site of the puncture.
The painful area may even swell further in the next 24 hours.

Allergic reaction

The allergic reaction occurs with the same symptoms as non-allergic reactions, but extended to a wider area.

  • Added difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Decreased blood pressure.

What to do in case of an insect bite

Following a mosquito bite, the itching is temporary. Slight relieve can be provided with stick specific ammonia at low concentrations or natural products. When the wheal is particularly big and achieves a size greater than that of a one euro coin, you should apply a cream made of antihistamine or cortisone. In case of a rash, fever, headache, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, you should seek out first aid assistance.

If you are bitten by a wasp or a bee and the sting is inserted into the skin, try to remove it with the help of a needle, a dull blade or a plastic card (a credit card, a contact card or similar). Intervention with tweezers can be risky, as you have to be careful not to squeeze the poison still present in the sting and be especially careful not to break the sting while it’s still present in the skin or body.

You should then:

  • Disinfect the bite with hydrogen peroxide or euclorina.
  • Immerse the affected area in cold water or apply ice (this reduces the pain and slows the absorption of the poison).
  • Hold the area where you were stung.
  • Only at a later time can you apply a cortisone cream to the area

Allergic reactions to stings of wasps, bees and hornets, must always be later carried out with antihistamine or a preparation made from disposable adrenaline in case of need. You should go to the emergency room only if you have stings in sensitive areas such as the mouth, eyes or nose, or if you have multiple stings that area a result of an attack by a swarm of insects.

What not do in case of an insect bite

In the case of a mosquito bite it is advisable to not scratch the affected area, and it is also useless to scratch the wheal with your nails, as this only worsens your affected area (as it helps spread the poison within the affected area). The same applies for bee, wasp and hornet stings.


Disclaimer: The information in this article does not in any way replace the intervention or signs associated with this type of emergency, but rather only provides simple tips as how to keep the situation under control while waiting for a medical rescue team to arrive.