Matthew Bellhouse-King, DNP
Dr. Bellhouse-King is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who received his Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He’s worked throughout the Pacific region for 11 years and is currently a primary care provider in Oahu. An advocate for health promotion and disease prevention, Dr. Bellhouse-King believes that affordable and quality healthcare should be accessible to everyone in Hawaii and beyond.
Insect sting treatment
To start, typically bee and wasp stings lead to a mild local skin reaction. For this:
- Firstly, use a cold compress to ease pain and reduce swelling.
- Secondly, use a painkiller to reduce pain symptoms.
- Lastly, for itching, apply a steroid cream like hydrocortisone or antihistamine tablet. The itching may take time to subside.
In addition, if the stinger is still in place, scrape it out using the edge of a knife or a credit card. Make sure you do not grab the stinger or squeeze it, as this could release more venom into the skin.
Of note, wasps do not leave stingers.
Localized allergic reaction
If you have an allergic reaction to the sting, you will notice swelling at the site that will become larger over the first few hours. Then it subsides. Unless the swelling is on your face and affects your airway, it is not dangerous. To manage the allergy you could:
- Take an antihistamine tablet as soon as possible
- Apply a cold compress to ease the pain and minimize swelling
- Take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
Generalized allergic reaction
Rarely, insect stings may cause a serious reaction. This happens most often in reaction to wasp stings. The severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
- Itchy skin followed by an itchy blotchy rash can appear anywhere
- Swelling on the face, which may extend to the lips, tongue, throat and upper airway.
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilation of the blood vessels, which can cause:
- Redness of the skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure, which can make you feel faint
- Wheezing or difficulty in breathing
A severe, generalized reaction will usually develop within 10 minutes of a sting. You must call an ambulance immediately on noticing symptoms of a severe reaction. If you have an Epi pen, use it immediately.
When to seek medical advice?
If the sting looks infected or you think you are having a severe allergic reaction, seek medical help.
Insect Bites Treatment
The treatment is the same as that for stings, except there is no need to worry about the stinger.
When to seek medical advice?
If the bite looks infected or you think you are having an allergic reaction.
What insect bites cause swelling?
Bites from midges, gnats, mosquitoes, flies, mites, ticks, fleas, and bedbugs can cause swelling or bumps.
How do you know if a bite or sting is infected?
If the area is red and tender with a yellow discharge (pus), it is likely infected. You may need a course of antibiotics to help clear it.
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North Shore, Oahu
"I thought the whole process was pretty cool. To be able do this all on the phone instead of wasting an hour or two to see my doctor and wait all that time to speak with my doctor for only 5 minutes. The best part was I didn't feel rushed either during the video consult. The doctor really took her time speaking with me and more so than my regular doctor would have the time to do so with me.
This was so convenient for me and my family, especially since we are traveling and this saved me a trip to Urgent Care, who knows how long that could have taken. I appreciate how prompt the doctor and the staff were with contacting me.
This was so great for my Dad to use as he is visiting from another country and he doesnt have health insurance. For something as simple as an earache, we didn't have to spend so much money on a quick doctor's visit. Plus the doctor was able to help my Dad sooner than our scheduled appointment!
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The whole experience was super fast! That was thee fastest appointment I have ever had, especially for something as simple as a prescription refill. Plus I had to pick my son up for school.
The fact that I was able to do all of this without getting out of my bed. From the time I made my appointment to hearing my prescription is ready, its been less than 1 hour.
Video consult was my favorite part. I've never done a telemedicine visit before and it was cool. I can really see this being great for people with busy schedules, not to mention there is nothing like this in Hawaii yet.
"Convenience from the comfort of your own home. Some times it can be a hassle getting out of house when you're already not feeling well to see your doctor, or even just to get a refill. But this is a very convenient service."
"Just being able to do it at home and ON TIME was great, because I didn't have to spend the time to commute and spend time in the waiting room to MAYBE see my doctor at my scheduled appointment time. The doctor called me as soon on the dot of my appointment time."
Waimea, Big Island
The best part was definitely seeing the doctor on the video call. It is comforting as a patient that there is a real doctor on the other end laying eyes on me and the symptoms I could be having.
Kona, Big Island
"The doctor was great and took his time explaining my symptoms and treatment! Actually the whole experience was fantastic! I can't believe how efficient you guys are. It hasn't even been 30 minutes and I've already been contacted by pharmacy that my prescription is ready. This was great. I would definitely use this service again and highly recommend to others!"
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