Tag Archives: mosquito illness

When Should You Worry About Bug Bites?

Most bug bites are nothing more than a nuisance, causing temporary itching, redness or irritation – but sometimes bug bites can lead to complications that can be dangerous or even deadly. It is important to know the difference so you can act accordingly. We’ll take a peep at some preventative measures you can take to avoid too many dealings with all these creepy crawlers in this post as well.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions can occur in response to virtually any substance, bite, sting or other irritant. When a reaction happens because of an insect bite or sting, it can be localized to the site of sting or it may trigger a systemic, anaphylactic reaction involving the entire body. A local reaction will cause swelling, redness and burning or pain at the site of the bite that may spread to the surrounding area, often this type of reaction can be treated with antihistamines and topical treatment. If it worsens, the person should seek medical treatment. In the case of a systemic reaction, an EpiPen auto injector should be administered immediately and emergency treatment sought. Anaphylactic reactions that go untreated can be fatal. Symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include:

  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Short, shallow breaths
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or anywhere else on the body
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness, faintness or dizziness
  • Syncope (fainting or near fainting)

Venomous Bites

Dangerous spider bites are uncommon as most spiders don’t make a practice of chomping on humans. When they do bite, however, most spider bites are relatively harmless. In rare cases people can contract venom from certain spiders such as the black widow or brown recluse. If you believe you have been bitten by a spider (look for small red fang marks) and are experiencing such symptoms as chills, fever, nausea and muscle cramping, you should seek medical attention ASAP and let the medical professional know you believe you were bitten by a venomous spider. The doctor may administer an anti-venom shot along with other treatment to minimize your symptoms.

Mosquito-borne Illness

Most mosquito bites cause no greater complications than annoying itchy bumps that may lead to discomfort for a week or so. But as most of us are already aware, certain mosquitoes are also infamous disease carriers. While it is rare to become afflicted with such diseases as Dengue or yellow fever, West Nile virus or Zika, it is still possible to become seriously ill or even die from such diseases if they go untreated for too long. Visit the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) to read more about the different diseases that can be spread via mosquitoes as well as the respective symptoms to watch out for by type.

Prevention Against Bites and Stings

There are a few precautions you can take against being stung or bitten by bothersome bugs during the summer months. Some of these include:

  • Wear insecticide (there are products available with less harsh chemicals and scents).
  • Wear protective clothing and avoid times of the day when insects are most plentiful like dusk and dawn.
  • Avoid wearing strong scents like perfumes, as bugs will be more attracted to you.
  • Avoid proximity to swamps and ponds when camping, as mosquitoes and bugs will be more active there.
  • Be careful around insect nests or hives, disturbing them will only encourage the insects to attack. Be extra careful where you walk in the forest, you do not want to go ankle deep into a red ant hive!
  • Cover food and eating areas and keep doors and screen-less windows closed.

Keep an eye out for our next insect awareness and prevention post on tick-spread illness and tick removal sometime soon. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you are having issues from a bite or sting, feel free to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our highly knowledgeable, board certified DocChat physicians.


Tips For Healthy Travel (Part 2)

Traveling can greatly increase your risk on contracting contagious or mosquito-carried illnesses, which can not only put a damper on your trip but also could seriously impact your health. There are various precautionary measures you can take to prevent illness (check out our “Tips For Healthy Travels (Part 1)” if you haven’t already caught it). Some things you can do to decrease your chances of sickness during your vacation are:

Be Careful of Local Eats

Food poisoning due to contamination is one of the leading causes of traveler gastrointestinal distress via such bacteria as E. coli, shigella and salmonella. Be careful what you are eating by watching food choices and checking out the cleanliness of the establishment before placing your order. Avoid pre-made salads, foods that could have been sitting out all day (like at amusement parks), meats that could potentially be under-cooked or shared buffet-style foods.

Don’t Let The Sun Make You Sick

A couple other types of illness that can ruin your trip and cause you undue strife are caused by the sun. You can easily get heatstroke if you are spending longs days in the hot sun, or exercising in hot weather without proper hydration or sun protection. Heatstroke can be mild, causing nausea and discomfort or it can be serious, causing syncope (fainting spells), vomiting and diarrhea, fevers and worse. Similarly, bad sun burns can be debilitating, causing similar symptoms. If both of these conditions are severe enough, they may even require hospitalization. Be sure to protect yourself against the sun with plenty of sun block, hats, proper clothing and perhaps most importantly, adequate hydration (with clean bottled water, not foreign tap water).

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito-Carried Illness

Mosquitos can strike anywhere, but if you are traveling to a high-risk part of the world you have a higher chance of contracting unpleasant or dangerous illnesses like the Zika virus, Dengue Fever or malaria. Some preventative measures you can take against mosquito bites are to sleep under mosquito nets when needed, continually coat yourself in insect repellant, hang out in air conditioned spaces when the mosquitos are especially bad (they won’t follow), and wear covering clothing when possible.

Get Up-To-Date On Vaccinations

Possibly the single most important preventative measure against getting sick while traveling is to get the proper vaccinations and immunizations, especially region-specific vaccines to protect you against conditions such as yellow fever when traveling to places where it is especially prevalent. Be sure to visit your doctor about 2 months before traveling to ensure you get the proper vaccinations in time before traveling.

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