How to Treat Bug Bites and Stings | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

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Published on June 15, 2022

How to Treat Bug Bites and Stings

Photo of a young family hiking through a field on a sunny daySpending more time outside is one benefit of summer, but sharing the great outdoors with bugs is not. The best way to protect yourself from stings and bites is to avoid the bugs that cause them. If that doesn’t work, here’s how you can treat stings and bites from these common bugs:

  • Bees / Wasps
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks
  • Chiggers


  • Remove stinger by gently scraping, don’t squeeze
  • Wash with soap and water
  • Apply cold or ice to reduce swelling
  • OTC pain medication eases discomfort
  • Hydrocortisone cream and oral antihistamines reduce itching


Most bites cause minor irritation that can be relieved with the previous tips. Try to identify what bit you in case you have lingering symptoms:

  • Mosquitoes can transmit viruses, such as West Nile and Zika
  • Ticks can cause Lyme disease (look for bulls-eye rash)
  • Chiggers don’t transmit disease but can be very itchy

For Both Bites and Stings

No matter which type of bug-related injury you have, there are some basic things to keep in mind. “You want to avoid scratching the injury because this can lead to an infection,” says Mehwish Khan MD, family medicine physician for PIH Health. Dr. Khan stresses that “if symptoms stemming from your bite or sting don’t improve or if they get worse, call your doctor. If you’re having a severe allergic reaction, you should go to the hospital or call 911 right away!”

Remember to stay safe while you enjoy the weather this summer!

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