Summer brings with it the joy of camping outdoors as well as the horror of being bitten by creepy crawlies. We may smear insect repellent creams on our bodies or carry it with us wherever we go, but it is still possible to get bitten. If you’re troubled by an insect bite and have no idea what to do, here’s a list of nine different bug bites and some tips to help treat them.
1. Bee And Wasp Stings
Bee and wasp stings can be extremely painful and contradictory to popular belief, the insects don’t always die right after they sting you. Some species of bees and most wasps can sting several times as long as their stinger doesn’t get caught. If you’ve been stung, you will experience a sharp pain followed by swelling and throbbing in the affected area. The affected area may feel itchy but it is advisable to restrain from doing so as it may cause the venom to spread. The first thing to do in the event of a bee or wasp sting, is to check if the stinger is on the skin. If it is, be sure to take it out carefully with a blunt knife or credit card. Never use tweezers to pull it out as you may end up squeezing more venom back into the skin. Once the stinger is out, you can treat the affected area with some meat tenderizer to help relieve the pain. If you experience other symptoms like nausea, suffocation, or difficulty swallowing consult your doctor immediately as you may be allergic to bee stings.
2. Mosquito Bite
In many cases mosquito bites do not require treatment as the immune system recognizes the mosquito saliva as a foreign substance and releases histamines. The affected area might itch and become unevenly bumpy . It is also possible to have experienced multiple bites in the same area. Usually, the skin regains normalcy in less than two days. If the bite is causing irritation, you can place some ice on it to numb the effects. Also, applying aloe vera should help soothe the affected area. You may need to stay cautious of any symptoms that may arise later like rise in body temperature because as much as the bite itself is not cause for worry, mosquitoes are hosts for other diseases like the zika virus and chikungunya.
3. Tick Bite
Tick bites often go unnoticed and very rarely cause pain. These blood harvesters may latch on to our skin and hide in places we’re not likely to spot them in like our armpits. The bite may be characterized by a red spot on the affected area and in some cases a rash that may appear in a few days. In a few cases, tick bites are a cause for concern because they carry infections like Lyme disease. Be sure to check for ticks if you’ve spent large periods of time outdoors. If you spot a tick on your body, pull it out firmly without squeezing its body. Ensure to wash the area of the bite with soap and water.
4. Bed Bugs
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, “Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.” Sometimes the bite marks may be random or may even appear in a linear pattern on exposed areas that come in contact with the mattress that they may have infested. They don’t usually require treatment although you can use any antiseptic cream of lotion if you experience irritation. More importantly, treat your bed and your house to get rid of them once and for all.
5. Lice Infestation
A head lice infestation can cause extreme irritation, severe itching and can even cause hair fall in some cases. If you have identified that you have lice, it is important to start treatment immediately. You may have to inform the people you live with so that they can get themselves checked as well. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, “Do not use extra amounts of any lice medication unless instructed to do so by your physician and pharmacist. The drugs used to treat lice are insecticides and can be dangerous if they are misused or overused.”
6. Flea Bite
Yes, fleas bite humans too. If you spot them on your pets, get them treated immediately. Flea bites on humans are characterized by red itchy bumps and may develop a ring like pattern around the bite mark. They are usually located on lower legs and feet. If you’ve been bitten, wash the affected area with soap and water and then treat with an antiseptic cream or lotion.
7. Spider Bite
Most spider bites just cause mild inflammation and itching and don’t require medical treatment apart from washing the affected area with soap and water and applying an ice pack. But if you’ve been bitten by a spider and have identified it to be a poisonous species, please ensure that you get medical treatment immediately. Symptoms of venomous spider bites could include pain spreading from the bite area, swollen lymph glands, sweating, shivering, nausea, or increased heart rate. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.
8. Fire Ant Bite
Fire ant bites can be extremely painful and are characterized by the pus-filled blisters that appear at the site of the bite. They can be extremely itchy and can last up to a week. If you spot them, treat with an ice pack and aloe vera gel or cream to soothe the affected area.
9. Leech Bite
When leeches latch onto the skin of animals, they release anticoagulants into the blood that helps make ingesting the blood easier for them. They tend to stick on for about 20 minutes and naturally fall off once swollen. If you spot a leech on your body, apply salt or vinegar and the leech should detach itself from your skin. Austin Health recommends not to pull the leech off as “the skin may be torn and ulceration may follow or parts of the jaw may remain and set up infection.”