Whether you are hiking in the woods or working in the yard, bites and stings are always a possibility. When animals bite, they can leave wounds and germs behind, including bacteria and viruses. A sting from an insect can leave the stinger or venom in the skin, causing infection and allergic reactions.
At Dignity Health, our doctors offer care to treat these common types of bites and stings in Arizona:
- Bee stings
- Wasp stings
- Scorpion stings
- Animal bites
- Ant bites and stings
- Spider bites
- Snake bites
If you are experiencing a life-threatening symptom or allergic reaction to an animal bite or insect sting, call 9-1-1.
When to Get Emergency Medical Care
Most bites and stings are minor injuries and can often be treated at home. However, you should get immediate medical care for the following situations:
- The bite was from a wild animal, a pet that was not up-to-date on immunizations, an animal you do not know, or an animal that was acting strangely.
- The reaction to a sting is severe, or you have an allergic reaction from a sting.
- The bite is a deep puncture wound, there is significant bleeding, or the skin is torn.
- There are signs of infection.
- You have a bite and are not up-to-date on tetanus shots.
You should go directly to your nearest ER or call 9-1-1 if you have any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Hives, itching, and flushed or very pale skin
- Dizziness or fainting
- Tingling, tightness, or swelling in your face, eyes, tongue, throat, or lips
- Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
If you need to go to the emergency room (ER), take advantage of our InQuicker™ online tool by selecting your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen.
Bite & Sting Symptoms
The most common signs of bites are minor wounds or deep punctures. Either of these can lead to infection without proper care. Symptoms of possible infection include swelling, redness, warmth, or oozing from the wound.
Symptoms of insect stings are pain and discomfort, swelling, redness, itching, and feeling hot to the touch. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to a sting. Sometimes, the reaction is a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis.
Bite & Sting Treatment at Dignity Health
Treatment of bites and stings depends on your symptoms and whether or not you are allergic. Treatment may take place at home, in a doctor’s office, outpatient emergency care clinic, or a hospital’s ER department.
You should get emergency care for wounds that may require stitches. If you are allergic to stings, administer your epinephrine auto-injector (i)f you have one and call 9-1-1. Dignity Health provides emergency services for a wide range of minor injuries and illness, including those caused by insect bites and bee stings in Arizona.