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Health Information For Parents
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.
Fire ants think they’re hot stuff. Learn how to handle them in this article for kids.
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.
Bee, or honeybee, is the word many people use to describe any flying insect that has wings and a stinger. Learn more about bees.
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.
Most bug bites and stings are just annoying. But some can cause infections and allergic reactions. It’s important to know what to watch for, and when to get medical attention.
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.
The black widow spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about them!
The brown recluse spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about the brown recluse spider.
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.
Insect sting allergies can cause serious reactions. Find out how to keep kids safe.
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.
Generally, insect bites and stings are harmless. Find out how to keep pests from ruining your fun.
Kids with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The good news is that when treated properly, anaphylaxis can be managed.
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.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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