An insect bite is generally not a cause for concern, but you can never get too comfortable, especially because a lot of bugs carry microbes and substances that can make you very ill. Bee stings, for instance, can trigger an allergic reaction, mosquitoes cause Dengue fever and deer ticks are largely responsible for Lyme disease.
With all the great weather summer brings, you and your family will be spending a lot of time outdoors. Make the most of the sunny season by arming yourself with some bug spray, anti-itch lotion, and handy knowledge on how to care for these seven most common insect bites.
Mosquitos: The itch from a mosquito bite is caused by the immune reaction of the body to the insect’s saliva. The area swells and itches until the body has broken down the saliva. A mosquito bite is a reddish bump which is about half an inch or smaller. For many it subsides after a few minutes, but for others who are sensitive, the bite may darken in color and leave a mark.
A safe way to treat mosquito bites is to make a paste from baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the area, and slap on a Band-aid to prevent scratching. Scratching could cause scars. You will also need to monitor yourself or your kid for fever, which is typically a first symptom of Dengue.
Wasps, Hornets and Bees: These insects don’t exactly bite, they sting. Their sting is painful and causes a red bump, which usually has a black dot in the center. This dot is the stinger which gets left behind when the insect has stung, and it should be removed immediately with some tweezers. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean the affected area. Swelling is relieved by applying an ice pack and the baking soda paste.
After you’ve cleaned the stung area, monitor yourself or your child for any allergic reaction which would be life-threatening. Classic symptoms are hives (rashes), dizziness, but the ones to really look out for are swelling of the tongue and difficulty breathing and swallowing, as these suggest the closing of the wind pipe. Drive straight to the ER if this happens.
Spiders: Spider bites aren’t typically fatal, with the exception of the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider. A spider bite which isn’t worrisome may be treated with the above-mentioned baking soda paste and some cold compress to relieve inflammation. However, any bite from the two venomous spiders mentioned will cause profuse sweating, headaches, vomiting, high blood pressure, and muscle pain or paralysis within a period of three to twelve hours, which means you will need to rush to the hospital upon noticing any of these symptoms.
Ticks: Ticks are external parasites which will embed themselves in the surface of your skin to feed on your blood. A feeding tick swells up and assumes a rounded shape. Their bites are itch-less and don’t hurt, but because they will continuously make a feast from your blood, you will need to use tweezers to pull them from your skin. They attach themselves really well, so you will need to pull as closely to your skin as possible. Use a flea and tick spray to ease the bug out. After you’ve pulled the tick, the area might bleed, but it isn’t a cause for concern.
Ticks live in grassy areas, but they might jump from animals like your pets to humans. Choose a tick treatment that that is free from chemicals like pyrethrins, permethrin, and other pesticides.