How To Treat an Insect Bite


Stella Gandhi, MD

If you enjoy spending time outdoors during the summer, you’ve likely become well acquainted with pesky mosquitoes, hungry bees, and hidden ticks. When you’ve been bitten, it may not be totally clear how to treat the symptoms or when to seek medical care. At Radish we’re here to help guide you in the right direction!

As the warm weather rolls in, spending time outdoors becomes more appealing. However, along with the sunshine and fresh air, the pesky presence of insects can be a nuisance. Insect bites are common during these seasons, causing itchiness, discomfort, and potential health risks. This blog post aims to provide essential information on preventing and treating insect bites.


  1. Use insect repellents: Apply insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing. These repellents can provide effective protection against a wide range of insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing: When spending time outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to minimize the exposed skin. Additionally, consider using permethrin-treated clothing, which offers an added layer of protection.
  3. Avoid peak insect activity: Insects are most active during dawn and dusk. If possible, schedule outdoor activities during other times of the day when insect activity is reduced.
  4. Keep your surroundings clean: Eliminate standing water, which serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Regularly empty and clean water containers such as buckets, flowerpots, and pet bowls.
  5. Use mosquito nets: When camping or sleeping outdoors, use mosquito nets to protect yourself from insect bites during the night.


  1. Clean the affected area: Upon getting an insect bite, clean the area with mild soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Avoid scratching the bite, as it can exacerbate the irritation and increase the likelihood of infection.
  2. Apply cold compress: To alleviate swelling and itchiness, apply a cold compress or ice pack to the bite. This can provide temporary relief and prevent further inflammation.
  3. Topical ointments and creams: Over-the-counter creams or ointments containing hydrocortisone can help soothe the itching and reduce inflammation. Calamine lotion can also provide relief from itchiness.
  4. Oral antihistamines: If the itching is severe or causing discomfort, oral antihistamines, such as cetirizine or loratadine, can be taken according to the recommended dosage to relieve the symptoms.
  5. Monitor for signs of infection: While most insect bites are harmless, some can lead to infections. Keep a close eye on the bite site for signs of increasing redness, warmth, swelling, or pus formation. If any of these symptoms occur, chat with your Radish doctor right away.

Insect bites are an inevitable part of spending time outdoors, but by taking appropriate preventive measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting bitten. If you do get bitten, remember to clean the area, avoid scratching, and use cold compresses and over-the-counter remedies to manage the symptoms. While most insect bites are harmless and resolve on their own, it’s essential to keep an eye out for signs of infection and seek medical attention if needed.

If you have any concerns or the bite’s symptoms persist or worsen, don’t hesitate to consult your Radish physician. We can provide personalized advice and treatments to ensure your speedy recovery and help you enjoy the great outdoors without the annoyance of insect bites. Stay proactive, stay protected, and have a pleasant and safe outdoor experience!

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