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Your Healthy Family: Treating insect bites and stings and when to seek medical care

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Many times those bites are simply annoying, or a little itchy and they go away on their own but that’s not the case every time. Many times those bites are simply annoying, or a little itchy and they go away on their own but that’s not the case every time.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

As we press on with summer in Colorado and we spend time in the great outdoors, we are often out there with insects that bite or sting.  Many times those bites are simply annoying, or a little itchy and they go away on their own.  That’s not the case every time which is why Dr. Ian Tullberg, Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial says this time of year bites and stings and something they see frequently in the urgent care.

“Mosquito bites are a classic one, and we do get a lot of folks coming in with bites saying ‘a spider, or something bit me’.  One thing I would suggest is try over the counter medications first.  They are very good for bites and stings, there are anti-itch creams and anti-sting creams, basically there are all kinds of things to try to help settle down those symptoms of itching and pain before you come in to the doctor.  Sometimes a bite or sting is just an irritation.  You may get a bunch of little spots all over and you can't sleep, or you're itching and we can help with those kind of things.”

When bites or stings don't go away on their own, or if they begin to look worse than visiting your doctor or the urgent care is a good idea says Dr. Tullberg.  “They can can take a turn for the worse.  If you start scratching at a bite or sting you can introduce your own bacteria into the equation.  An infection can happen very quickly, or it could happen within a couple days or a couple weeks just depending on how how much you scratch and how much you're irritating it and how much skin is then broken.  An abscess  can develop in some of those insect bites or stings, it’s not very common.  That is something that might need to be surgically drained and we can do that in urgent care or a primary care doctor can do that.”

Dr. Tullberg also stresses, anytime a bite or sting is causing you pain there is a simple and easily available way to quick relief.  “The number one thing you could do right away, is put some ice on it.  Not an ice cube straight on the skin because you could damage your skin if you hold it on too long.  Put some ice in a bag put it on the sting or bite.  Everyone's got ice around usually so use it.”

Prevention is also something to keep in mind especially for mosquito bites.  Wearing long sleeves and insect repellent can save you from dealing with bites and stings in the first place.

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