Getting a bug bite can be a creepy experience, especially if you don’t know what tiny creature left you with that red, throbbing welt on your skin. Don’t panic. Most bug bites and stings from common insects are harmless and heal quickly. But some bug bites and stings, like those from fire ants, wasps, hornets, and bees, may cause intense pain or even a serious allergic reaction. Others, like poisonous spider bites, require immediate Medical Care.
Symptoms of bug bites provide clues to the cause and severity. For example, most bug bites cause red bumps with pain, itching, or burning. Some bug bites also feature blisters or welts. Here are some common bug bites…
Mosquito Bites are among the most common causes of insect-related itch. Aside from a little irritation, they’re usually harmless and will clear on their own in just a few days.
Not everyone has the same reaction, though, and it’s possible for a bite to result in small blisters, multiple bumps or bruise-like spots. But there is still no need to worry. However, in some rare cases, a headache, chills, fever and vomiting can occur and should be reported to a Medical Professional.
Like many insects, some mosquitoes carry diseases like Zika, West Nile virus and Dengue fever. If you develop a Fever or Flu-like Symptoms after being bitten, you should see your Medical Provider. Infection is another reason to visit a Doctor. Although uncommon, scratching can force Bacteria from under your Fingernails into the Skin.
Barring Illness and Infection, Symptoms can be treated with topical itch-relief ointments and cold compresses. If you’re going to be outside, it is recommended you wear protective clothing and apply bug repellent that contains between 10 and 30 percent DEET.
Their distinct buzz has sent school kids scampering for centuries, and rightfully so—getting stung by a bee is painful. Often, bee stings are harmless, but if you are stung more than once, or you are allergic to the venom, a nuisance can turn into a Medical Emergency.
“Bees can actually leave the stingers in the skin,”. “If you do see a stinger that could be indication you have been stung.” Bee stings often cause pain, redness and swelling at the site, all of which should clear within a few hours. In more serious instances, the welt may grow and can last up to 10 days. Still, this isn’t something to worry about. If reactions to subsequent stings prove more painful, speak with your doctor about treatment and prevention. Most alarming are the severe reactions, which include symptoms like hives, difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness and faintness. If you experience any of these Symptoms, Seek Medical Attention Immediately.
Treating mild reactions is simple: remove the stinger, wash the area with soap and water and manage pain and swelling with a cold compress and medication such as Tylenol or Motrin. If an adverse reaction develops, call for Medical Attention Immediately.
Stings aren’t always preventable but wearing shoes and protective clothing can help. Stay alert and cover food and drinks tightly when eating outside.
Tiny parasites that thrive on human and animal blood, fleas live primarily on cats and dogs, though humans aren’t immune to their bites. Fleas most commonly bite people on the legs and ankles, causing small red bumps that itch.
Because fleas don’t generally carry disease, bites are typically little more than a nuisance. It’s possible, however, in small children and those who are allergic, for pain and swelling to occur. Allergic reactions can also cause nausea, difficulty breathing and swelling of the mouth and face, which should be reported promptly to a professional.
Scratching can also cause an infection, characterized by swelling and redness around the bite and even painful, swollen lymph nodes.
Oral antihistamines and anti-itch creams can treat symptoms of flea bites. Pets commonly bring these insects into the home, so speak with your veterinarian if you fear your dog or cat has fleas.
Ticks burrow into your skin, so if you notice one on your body, use a tweezers to gently remove it, and if possible, keep the bug in a closed container to show your doctor. Post removal wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water and be on the lookout for any signs of disease or infection like a headache, flu symptoms, redness, oozing, difficulty breathing—which requires immediate attention—or a large rash. “If there’s a Target-like rash appearing on the skin, a Red Center with an additional Red Ring surrounding the site, Lyme disease could be a concern. Seek Medical Attention.
Barring infection, a tick bite will heal on its own, but if worrisome symptoms develop, check in with your Medical Provider. A Doctor will diagnose the disease or infection and prescribe treatment.
Some bites can be prevented, by using repellent with DEET, wearing protective clothing and tucking your pants into your socks when you’re in areas with ticks.
Fire Ant Stings
The fire ant is an insect whose sting leaves you with pus-filled blisters. Although these bites look like pimples, and you may be tempted to pop them, you shouldn’t.
Fire ant stings most commonly occur on the feet and ankles and are usually the result of disturbing an ant mound. They’re initially painful, but within a few minutes the pain is replaced with itching and burning, which can last for a few days.
In most cases, fire ant stings are just irritating, but for some, could turn dangerous. An allergy to fire ant venom may trigger dizziness, confusion, trouble breathing, and swelling of the throat and loss of consciousness within minutes. If symptoms arise, seek urgent medical care.
Otherwise, managing symptoms can be done at home, with cold compresses, oatmeal baths and oral antihistamines. Avoid scratching, which can lead to infection. The best way to avoid stings is to steer clear of ant mounds and wear closed-toe shoes with socks when outdoors.
Bedbugs are small, flat, oval-shaped insects. They do not have wings and rely on humans to carry them from one place to the next. Bedbugs are a reddish-brown color and can be between 1 and 7 millimeters. They feed on blood from humans or animals, and they are most active at night, feeding on their victims while they sleep.
Some people will not experience a reaction to a bedbug bite at all. Those that do experience symptoms of a bite are likely to experience one or more of the following:
- a bite with a red, swollen area and a dark red center
- bites in a line or grouped together in a small area
- blisters or hives at the bite site
Bites can happen anywhere on the body. Most commonly they occur on areas of skin that are exposed while sleeping, such as the face, arms, legs, and hands. Bedbug bites don’t always appear immediately after you are bitten. They sometimes take a few days to begin causing symptoms. It should also be noted that bedbugs don’t come out to feed every single night. In fact, they can go several days without eating. It may take a few weeks to notice that your bites are part of a larger pattern.
Bedbug bites are often very itchy. You may experience a burning sensation on the skin several days after you’ve been bitten. You won’t feel the bugs bite you because they excrete a tiny amount of anesthesia into your body before they bite.
If you scratch the bite, you may cause a secondary infection that can lead to swelling and bleeding. If you experience these symptoms seek Medical Attention. Usually symptoms can be treated with topical itch-relief ointments and cold compresses.
Chiggers, small bugs that are part of the arachnid family, live in areas with tall grass, and are among the most common sources of bug bites. Chiggers frequently attach themselves to skin near the ankles, around the waist and in warm areas of the body, like the folds of the elbows and knees.
Chigger bites are initially painless but cause itchy hives or pimple-like bumps that last about a week. If you think you’ve been bitten by these pesky insects, take a shower to remove any potentially still attached to your skin. Ice and anti-itch cream can help manage discomfort, but if the bites don’t go away, have your Doctor look. Your Medical Provider may prescribe a steroid shot to reduce itching and swelling. “If bites get infected from scratching, they’ll need to be treated with antibiotics,”
If you can’t avoid areas where chiggers hide, wear long protective clothing and apply bug spray that contains DEET or Permethrin, which kills them.
With any of the Insect Bites above, if Symptoms persist for more than a few days or worsen Seek Medical Attention!
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