Bites and stings typically happen when an animal or insect feels threatened. With stings, the insect injects venom into your skin with its stinger. Common types of bites and stings include:
- Spider bites
- Ant bites and stings
- Animal bites
- Bee stings and wasp stings
- Snake bites
- Scorpion stings
Bites and stings usually cause only minor injury, but some require medical attention if:
- The bite is on the face, head, neck, hand, foot, or joint.
- The bite came from an animal unknown to you, a wild animal, an animal acting strangely, or a pet not up-to-date on immunizations.
- There are signs of infection.
- The bite is a deep puncture, the skin is torn, or there is significant bleeding.
- The person is not up-to-date on tetanus shots.
- The reaction to a sting is severe.
Have you received a bite or sting in Sacramento, CA or a surrounding area? At Dignity Health, our experts emergency doctors and staff can quickly assess your bite or sting and decide on a personalized treatment. Call 911 for emergency medical care or visit your nearest Dignity Health ER location.
Bite & Sting Symptoms
Bites can range from minor wounds to deep puncture wounds. If the bite breaks the skin, there is a risk of it becoming infected. Signs of possible infection include:
- Oozing from the wound
Signs and symptoms of stings include:
- Feeling hot to the touch
It’s possible to have a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a sting.
Seek reliable emergency medical care at Dignity Health or call 911 for the following symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Dizziness or fainting
- Hives, itching, and flushed or very pale skin
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Tingling, tightness, or swelling of your eyes, face, throat, tongue, or lips
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
Prevent & Treat Bites & Stings in Northern California
Treatment and prevention of bites and stings depend on whether or not you are allergic. If you aren’t allergic, you can take care of most minor bites and stings at home using these steps:
- Gently remove the stinger if it is in the skin.
- Wash the bite or sting with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion, or take antihistamines by mouth to ease symptoms.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers, if necessary.
If you are allergic to stings, administer your epinephrine autoinjector and call 911. Seek medical attention even if your symptoms get better.
The emergency department at Dignity Health treats bites and stings in the Greater Sacramento region.