Infected Insect Bites and How To Treat Them

Insect bites are a common nuisance, especially during the warmer months when we spend more time outdoors. While most insect bites are harmless and heal on their own, some can become infected and require medical attention. At Luxtons Pharmacy in Exeter, we provide comprehensive treatment for infected insect bites through the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme, ensuring you receive prompt and effective care.

Recognising Infected Insect Bites

Before diving into treatment, it’s crucial to understand the signs of an infected insect bite. A standard insect bite typically causes mild discomfort, itching, and a small red bump. However, when a bite becomes infected, you may notice the following symptoms:

Increased redness and swelling: The area around the bite becomes more inflamed and spreads beyond the initial bite mark.

Pain and tenderness: The bite area feels more painful to the touch and may throb or ache.

Warmth: The infected area may feel warm or hot compared to the surrounding skin.

Pus or discharge: A clear sign of infection is the presence of pus or other discharge from the bite.

Fever and chills: In severe cases, an infection can cause systemic symptoms like fever and chills, indicating that the infection is spreading.

Common Causes of Infected Insect Bites

Infections can develop when bacteria enter the skin through the bite, often due to scratching or improper cleaning. Some common bacteria that cause these infections include Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Risk factors for developing an infection from an insect bite include:

Scratching: Scratching the bite can break the skin and introduce bacteria.

Poor hygiene: Not cleaning the bite properly can allow bacteria to thrive.

Compromised immune system: Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infections.

Pre-existing skin conditions: Conditions like eczema can increase the risk of infection.

infected insect bites

Preventing Infected Insect Bites

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to help you avoid insect bites and reduce the risk of infection:

Use insect repellent: Apply a repellent containing DEET or other effective ingredients to exposed skin.

Wear protective clothing: Long sleeves, pants, and hats can help minimise skin exposure.

Avoid peak biting times: Many insects are most active during dawn and dusk. Plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

Maintain cleanliness: Keep your living environment clean and free of stagnant water where insects breed.

Resist scratching: Use anti-itch creams and antihistamines to reduce the urge to scratch bites.

Treating Infected Insect Bites

If you suspect an insect bite has become infected, it’s important to act quickly. At Luxtons Pharmacy, we offer a range of treatments under the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme to help you manage and treat infected insect bites effectively. Here’s what you can do:

Clean the Bite

The first step in treating an infected insect bite is to clean the area thoroughly:

Wash with soap and water: Use mild soap and lukewarm water to clean the bite. Pat dry with a clean towel.

Apply antiseptic: Use an antiseptic solution or cream to reduce bacterial presence on the skin.

Reduce Swelling and Pain

To alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation:

Apply a cold compress: A cold pack or ice wrapped in a cloth can help reduce swelling.

Take pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or paracetamol can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.

Use Topical Antibiotics

Topical antibiotics can be very effective in treating localised infections:

Antibiotic creams or ointments: Apply as directed to prevent the spread of infection and promote healing.

Seek Professional Help

If the infection does not improve with basic treatment, it’s important to seek medical advice. At Luxtons Pharmacy, we can assess the severity of the infection and provide the necessary treatment options, including:

Oral antibiotics: For more severe infections, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

infected insect bites

NHS Pharmacy First Scheme

The NHS Pharmacy First Scheme is designed to provide you with quick access to treatment without the need for a GP appointment. At Luxtons Pharmacy, we are proud to participate in this scheme, offering professional healthcare services to our community in Exeter. Here’s how it works:

Consultation: Visit our pharmacy and speak with one of our trained pharmacists. No appointment is necessary.

Assessment: Our pharmacist will assess your condition and determine the appropriate treatment.

Treatment: We can provide medications and advice on how to manage your infected insect bite.

Follow-up: We offer follow-up consultations to ensure your infection is healing properly and address any concerns you may have.

When to Seek Emergency Care

While most infected insect bites can be treated effectively with the above measures, there are situations where emergency care is necessary. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

– Rapidly spreading redness and swelling
– Severe pain that does not improve
– High fever and chills
– Difficulty breathing or swallowing
– Signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, swelling of the face, lips, or throat, and difficulty breathing.

Get Treatment Today

Infected insect bites can be painful, but with prompt and proper treatment, they can be managed effectively. At Luxtons Pharmacy in Exeter, we are committed to providing you with the best care possible through the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme. If you suspect an insect bite has become infected, don’t hesitate to visit us for professional advice and treatment. Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and we’re here to help you stay healthy and comfortable all year round.


This blog was written on behalf of Luxtons Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor.