As the summer and hot weather approaches, the likelihood of being bitten or stung will increase.

Most people will be bitten or stung by wasps, spiders, horseflies and other insects at some point in their lives but household items can help sooth pain and reduce swelling.

Billy Oh, a garden furniture company have shared some of their advice for dealing with insect bites.

We've also used information from the NHS website to help compile this article.

What are the symptoms of an insect bite and sting?

In most cases people have a red, swollen lump on the skin which can be a painful and itchy.

But some people may have a mild allergic reaction and a larger area of skin around the bite or sting can become swollen, red and painful but should pass within a week.

Sometimes people can have severe allergic reactions causing breathing difficulties, dizziness and a swollen face or mouth which requires immediate medical treatment.

What can you do once you have been stung or bitten?

To treat the area remove the sting or tick if it’s still in the skin and wash the affected area with soap and water.

Apply a cold compress such as a flannel, a cloth cooled with cold water to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.

Raise the affected area to help reduce swelling and look for over-the-counter treatments such as painkillers, creams for itching and antihistamines.

Tottenham Independent:

(Stock image of a wasp)

What can you do at home to reduce the effects?

Try to avoid the use of traditional home remedies such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.


Place crushed ice into a small sandwich bag, wrap in a towel and place over the area until the skin feels calmer.

Aloe Vera Gel

This is a plant-based gel that hold anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It will help reduce the level of swelling and prevent infection.

Raw Honey

The natural antibacterial qualities will help prevent infection and increase the speed of heeling.

Tottenham Independent:

(Honey is good for bites/stings says Billy Oh)

Witch Hazel

It can help reduce the sensation of itching, use a cotton swab and dab a small amount of the solution on the area and rinse off a few minutes later.


Use after the sting is almost healed as this will make the scar that is left almost vanish.

Dab water on the area and then cover with sugar and leave for a long period of time. Wash off before sleeping and do not leave overnight as insects are attracted to sugar.

Peppermint Oil

It will help reduce irritation and itchiness and improve blood circulation and cleanse toxin in the area to help the healing process.

Tottenham Independent:


It will help eliminate the toxins from the bite. Crush two tablets with water to make a thick paste, apply for a couple minutes before washing it off.


The enzymes from the fruit will reduce inflammation and counteract the effects of venom.

Slice a slice of papaya and place over the bite, make sure the fruit is moist and replace when it has dried out.

Natural Clay

It will remove the toxins out of the bite or sting. For instant relief from pain and itchiness mix some clay with water to make a paste and cover the bite.

How can I prevent insect bites and stings?

Remain calm and move away slowly if you meet wasps, hornets or bees. Do not wave your arms around or swat them as they can become threatened and agitated.

Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers and wear shoes when outdoors.

Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, repellents that contain diethyltoluamide are most effective.

Avoid using products with strong perfumes including soaps, shampoos and deodorants.

Take notice around flowering plants, rubbish, compost, stagnant water and in outdoor areas where food is served.

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek advice from your GP or call 111 if:

  • you’re worried and your symptoms do not start to improve within a few days or are getting worse.
  • you have been stung or bitten in your mouth, throat or near your eyes or there is a large area around ten centimetres or more around the bite that is red and swollen.
  • you have symptoms of a wound infection such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness.
  • you have symptoms of widespread infection include fever, swollen glands and flu-like symptoms.

Call 999 if there are symptoms of a severe reaction:

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • a swollen face, mouth or throat
  • nausea or vomiting
  • a fast heart rate
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • difficulty swallowing
  • loss of consciousness