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When Should You Worry About Bug Bites?

Written by Courteney

Posted on June 24, 2016 at 1:01 am


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.

 

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