In their Keeping Kids Healthy column, UTMB Drs. Sally Robinson and Keith Bly offer tips to parents on what to do if their child is stung or bitten. “Venomous insects inject painful, toxic venom through their stingers. The stings are painful, red and can swell up to 12 inches from the site of the sting. This is called a local reaction. A person who is allergic to the venom of the insect might have a systemic or ‘whole body’ reaction. Redness, hives and swelling can occur, and this type of reaction can affect airways, as well as circulation and could become life threatening if not treated in time. Nonvenomous insects bite in order to feed on your blood. Allergic reactions do occur from nonvenomous insect bites, but severe allergic reactions are rare. The two greatest risks from most insect stings and bites are allergic reaction, which can be fatal,” they wrote.