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How do you treat swelling from insect bites?

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Quick Answer

To treat swelling caused by an insect bite, apply ice, elevate the area of the bite, and take a nonprescription medication that reduces swelling, reports WebMD. Do not apply warmth to the affected area until the swelling is gone.

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Full Answer

When first stung by a insect, be sure to remove the stinger to reduce the spread of the venom, explains WebMD. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for six hours. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can help reduce swelling, itching and redness. It is important to check with a doctor before giving antihistamines to a child. A local anesthetic spray can reduce pain and swelling as well. After applying ice for six hours, if the swelling is no longer present, apply heat to the bite area for comfort.

Some acceptable nonprescription medications for reducing swelling, pain, and redness are acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin, according to WebMD. It is important not to take more than the recommended dose and to be wary of switching back and forth between more than one medication. If there are other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or hives, it is important to contact a medical professional, as it may be an allergic reaction.

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