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Treatment

Most insect bites will improve within a few hours or days and can be treated at home.

First aid for insect bites and stings

To treat an insect bite or sting:

The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days.

Removing a sting

If you've been stung and the sting has been left in your skin, you should remove it as soon as possible to prevent any more venom being released.

Scrape it out sideways with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, or your fingernails if you don't have anything else to hand.

Don't pinch the sting with your fingers or tweezers because you may spread the venom.

Removing a tick

If you've been bitten by a tick and it's still attached to your skin, remove it as soon as possible to reduce your risk of picking up illnesses such as Lyme disease.

To remove a tick:

If you use a tick removal tool follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Do not use a lit cigarette end, a match head or substances such as alcohol or petroleum jelly to force the tick out.

Dealing with caterpillar hairs

If a caterpillar of the oak processionary moth gets on your skin:

Do not towel yourself dry after rinsing or use creams containing antihistamine.

Relieving the symptoms of an insect bite or sting

If you have troublesome symptoms after an insect bite or sting, the following treatments may help:

See your GP if these treatments don't help. They may prescribe stronger medicines such as steroid tablets.

When to get medical advice

Contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice if:

When to get emergency help

Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has symptoms of a severe reaction, such as:

Emergency treatment in hospital is needed in these cases.