Swelling caused by Insect Bites

Swelling From Insect Bites

Insect bites, especially those from mosquitoes, can cause a range of reactions ranging from mild swelling and itching to serious allergic reactions. Swelling is a common reaction to an insect bite and often causes discomfort.

It is important to identify the type of insect that bit you so that you can identify symptoms and seek any necessary medical attention.

Reactions to Insect Bites

Insects such as fleas, bedbugs, and mosquitos can transmit bacteria or viruses through their bites. These viruses and bacteria can cause irritation and inflammation that lead to swelling.

The body’s immune system may respond to the bite, leading to allergic reactions, hives, itching, and swelling. This can be particularly true for bites from bees, wasps, and fire ants.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a bite-related swelling may include:

  • Tenderness and pain in the affected area
  • Redness and inflammation of the skin
  • Swelling at the bite site
  • Itching, which may be severe


It is important to remember that swelling and irritation is common after any insect bite. Treatment for these symptoms includes:

  • Applying a cold compress to the area, such as an ice pack, for up to 20 minutes several times a day
  • Using a topical antihistamine cream or ointment to help reduce itching and discomfort
  • Taking pain medication, such as acetaminophen, to reduce pain and swelling
  • Seeking medical attention if symptoms worsen or don't go away after a few days

If you have had an allergic reaction to an insect bite, use an epinephrine auto-injector and seek medical attention immediately.