There are a lot of different types of insects or bugs existing in the world; most are already identified by experts and some are still unknown. Some insects may bite and other insects will sting. Many people wonder and ask me the question “What bit me?” when they discover new insect bites or stings that they do not know where came from or which exact insect bit them. Insect bites can be harmless at times, and some can even be dangerous as they can transmit diseases or have dangerous toxins. It is always good to know the different types of insect bites and learn to identify them through the appearance and even the feel or texture. This knowledge will help people discover what bit them and be able to determine what proper treatment is necessary, or if immediate medical attention is needed.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs as their name implies, usually infest the bed area, from the mattresses to the beddings. These insects are found in many areas to even some clean areas such as five star hotels. They can easily spread as they can hitch a ride to a traveler’s luggage, can hitch a ride on pets and among other things. Bed bug bites are not painful but can leave a red bumps on the skin that are extremely itchy and inflamed. Infection may develop from these bed bug bites due to intense scratching; if this occurs, a doctor must be consulted as the infection may require medication such as antibiotics. Bed bug bites usually appear on the face, hands, arms, neck and shoulders. While bed bug bites are not hazardous to one’s health, some people however tend to develop an allergic reaction from these bed bug bites. Anti-allergy medications may be prescribed by the doctor to address the allergic reaction. Other medications may also be advised by the doctor, corticosteroid creams for instance, for the relief from itchiness, redness and inflammation.
Tick bites are mostly acquired outdoors; ticks can easily attach to people even when one moves past plants. After ticks latches on to human skin, most of the time these ticks go to warm and moist areas such as the armpits and groins and feed on human blood. While some bug bites from ticks are not serious, some may cause an allergic reaction and some however can be dangerous as tick bites can transmit diseases such as the Lyme disease and the Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These diseases are spread by the black-legged ticks and dog ticks respectively. Lyme disease may present itself with a rash in a ring pattern or bull’s eye target-like pattern, with irregular heart rhythm, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pains. Rocky Mountain spotted fever on the other hand has symptoms of fever, muscle pains, headache, skin rash that starts on the wrists and ankles a few days after the fever then eventually spreads all over the body. It is best to protect one’s self from tick bites by wearing clothes that cover the body and using insect repellants.
Fleas feed on blood not just on animals or pets but on humans as well. These are wingless, small yet agile insects that cause symptoms of bites within a few hours of bug bites. The flea bites appear as small, red and itchy skin rash that turns white when pressed on and tends to get bigger in time. Some may also develop hives, inflamed and sore symptoms from these bug bites. Itchiness may also be intense which will be prone to wound or infection due to scratching. These insect bites from fleas usually appear in groups of three or four, commonly found on the ankles, around the waist, bends of knees and elbows or on the armpits. It is best to rid the house and pets of flea infestation to avoid these insect bites.
Mosquito bites appear as red or pinkish bumps on the skin which can be very itchy. Itchiness of mosquito bites can lead to wound of infection due to intense scratching. It always helps to apply anti-itch medications to prevent it from worsening due to its itchiness. Mosquito bites can also be dangerous as these insect bites can transmit diseases such as Dengue Fever virus, West Nile virus and some other diseases. It is best to know the symptoms of these diseases such as high fever and skin rash among other symptoms, in order to get proper treatment right away. Using insect repellant and taking precautionary measures such as removing standing water in the area will help prevent insect bites from mosquitoes.
Bee, Hornet, Wasp Stings
Stings from bees, hornets and wasps can be painful. A bee sting for instance may appear as a red bump which remains sore after a few days. Bee stings can sometimes be itchy and feels hot to the touch as well. Inflammation on the site of the sting or on the entire body part may also occur. Bees can only sting once as their stingers detach and then they die. Hornets and wasps on the other hand can cause multiple stings because they do not lose their stingers. Antihistamines and pain medications may be taken for the itching, inflammation and pain. Some may experience severe anaphylactic reaction from these insect stings therefore immediate medical attention is needed. People with known allergy to these stings must always carry with them epinephrine shots for emergency cases.
Symptoms of bug bites from spiders can somewhat be similar to bee stings, appearing as a red inflamed and painful bump on the site of bug bites. Some spider bites are not poisonous and there are some that are indeed poisonous. Bug bites from a black widow spider are examples of a poisonous spider bite. A black widow spider is a black and glossy spider with a red or orange hourglass-like mark on their underside. A bug bite from a black widow can either be painful or not, red and tender with two fang marks appearing on the bite area. Muscle and stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty in breathing may occur within hours of the bug bites from a black widow spider. Immediate medical attention is necessary if bitten by a poisonous spider to receive anti-venom. Brown recluse spider are very poisonous and their bites can cause severe wounds and infections and deadly in some cases. Bug bites from these spiders are usually painless but appear red, turning white then develop red bull’s eye blisters which then become painful.
Lice may be acquired from sharing hair brushes or hats with an infected person. Lice are normally found in the hair, usually hiding in areas behind the ears or at the neck area. Bug bites from lice appear as small red spots, normally appearing on the neck, shoulders and of course the scalp. These bug bites are not painful but are very itchy. Severe scratching from the intense itchiness can lead to an infection and in severe cases hair may also fall out, both of which require treatment. In treating head lice, medicated creams and shampoos may be prescribed by the doctor together with proper decontamination of clothing, bedding and other personal items.
Fire ants are mostly found in the southern states. They appear like regular ants but are in fact venomous. Insect bites from ants are painful, causing red bumps on the skin. Insect bites from fire ants on the other hand have a sharp pain and burning sensation, causing white fluid-filled pustules or blisters appearing days after the sting. Fire ants latches on the skin with their jaws then sting from their abdomens and inject venom multiple times. Other symptoms like itching, redness and inflammation may also occur. Medications for pain and antihistamines can help relieve symptoms.