Dealing with Bug Bites

Summer is fast approaching, and all the little critters are about to come out of winter hiding. They are at best annoying and sometimes downright dangerous at others.

Let’s start with bites from mosquitos, fleas, mites. These are typically itchy, not painful and usually just irritating. Bites from fire ants, stings from bees/wasps/hornets are more often (obviously) painful. Either case there is usually an immediate skin reaction. In most cases, these are treated at home by the myriad of over-the-counter topical and oral medications available. There are many “home remedies” you can find online, but their levels of effectiveness are questionable.

Bites become more concerning when they come from more dangerous insects. Bites from black widows and brown recluse spiders can be very serious, causing illnesses or even death. If possible, try to bring the insect with you or take a picture on your smartphone to help identify the insect.

Benign symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, itching, burning, and will sometimes tingle or become numb. More serious symptoms can include anaphylactic reactions/shock, chest pain, mouth or face swelling, difficulty breathing, rash/flushing, abdominal pain, and/or light-headedness.

How to respond:

For “normal” reactions, wash with soap and water, ice the area, take or apply over-the-counter creams and antihistamines as directed, and continue to monitor the area for signs of infections. These signs include increased redness, swelling or pain. Do NOT apply a tourniquet and do NOT take a prescriptions medicine without the care of a medical provider.

For more severe reactions, check a person’s airway to make sure they are still able to easily breathe, call 911 if needed, begin CPR if needed, stay calm, and use a person’s EpiPen appropriately if they have on in a personal emergency kit.

If you need care with a bug bite, don’t hesitate to stop by one of our clinics and be seen by one of our experienced medical providers.