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Bites and stings are common injuries that occur when an animal or insect feels threatened. These types of injuries can lead to allergic reactions or infections, depending on the type and severity of the specific bite or sting. Types of bites and stings include:
In most cases, injuries from bites or stings are minor, and can be treated safely at home. However, you should seek medical attention if:
You can find fast emergency treatment for a bite or sting in the Bay Area at Dignity Health hospitals. We triage each patient to get them through the waiting room and into treatment as soon as possible. Don’t want to wait at the hospital? Use our Online Waiting Room to select your approximate ER arrival time.
Common signs and symptoms of stings include:
Some people experience anaphylaxis — or a severe allergic reaction — after a sting. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1 for the following symptoms:
Bites can range from deep puncture wounds to minor superficial wounds. There is a risk of infection with any bite that breaks the skin. Signs of possible infection include swelling, redness, warmth, or oozing from the injury.
Administer your epinephrine autoinjector and call 9-1-1 if you are allergic to stings. Our Dignity Health emergency care experts will provide the necessary treatment with personal care. Even if your symptoms improve after using your autoinjector, you should see a doctor.
If you aren’t having an allergic reaction, most minor bites and stings can be taken care at home. Gently remove the stinger, wash the injury with soap and water, and apply a cold compress. Symptoms can be eased with hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, antihistamines, and over the counter pain relievers.
Dignity Health offers emergency medical care for bites and stings in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.