Ouch! Something Bit Me!

05/04/2015

OUCH! Something bit me!

Bug bites are nature’s way of reminding us humans that we are not alone. Stings and bites from insects are common injuries that result in swelling, itching, and redness. In more severe cases, a sting or a bite can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction or transmit an infectious virus or bacteria. Common bug bites from mosquitoes, mites and fleas are itchy and uncomfortable, but usually harmless. So, before you head on your next hiking trip or swim at the lake read these tips on how to help prevent bug bites.

Prevention

  1. Spray Away - Use a plant-based insect repellent or commercial insect repellent with 30% or less DEET. Recent studies have shown that commercial bug repellents that contain the chemical DEET can be harmful to the brain and nervous system with prolonged use and should not be used on children younger than 3 months. For a more natural approach to keeping bugs away, try using Cinnamon Leaf Oil or Catnip Oil. Use caution when using Cinnamon Oil though, as it should not be applied directly to the skin, but instead on clothing or surfaces near you.
  2. Avoid going outside at Dusk or Dawn - Mosquitos are most active during these two times of the day, especially around shrubs or standing water.
  3. Dress to distress - Wear loose long sleeve shirts, pants and hats to keep skin from being exposed to potential bites.
  4. Protect your bed - Use a bed net if you are sleeping outdoors.
  5. Keep it neutral - Wear neutral colored clothing. Some insects like the Tsetse fly are attracted to bright colors, very dark colors, metallic fabric, and the color blue.
  6. Back away from the Bush - some insects rest in bushes during the day and will attack if disturbed
  7. Tuck it all in - Tuck pants into socks and wear close-toed shoes instead of sandals.
  8. Check Fido at the door - Inspect your pets for ticks and other bugs after they come in the house from being outside.

Treatment

Most home remedies can alleviate the symptoms from mild bug bites such as: ice pack or cold compress for swelling, acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, and calamine lotion or hydrocortisone for itching. If you are bitten by a spider or scorpion that may be poisonous, seek medical attention immediately. If possible, bring the spider or scorpion in a jar with you to the emergency room.

Call 911 right away if:

  • You start to have trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or feel tightness in your throat
  • Your throat or tongue is swelling
  • You feel weak, dizzy, or lightheaded

Come in to the nearest Concentra Urgent Care if:

  • You have itching or hives that are getting worse
  • The bite area is becoming more swollen or more painful
  • The bite area is beginning to look infected
  • Pus or other fluid is draining from the bite
  • Fever higher than 101.5°F , chills, nausea, vomiting, or muscle aches
  • Any of your symptoms are getting worse instead of better

Most bug bites are not threatening, but symptoms from the bite can be irritating. If bitten, try your best to avoid scratching, and apply a hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce itching. If returning from the outdoors bathe or shower as soon as possible and be sure to inspect children and pets for bugs as well.

References

How to Prevent Mosquito Bites - Consumer Reports. (2014, June 1). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/05/best-way-to-stop-bug-bites/index.htm
Avoid bug bites. (2013, April 21). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites
Bledsoe, PhD, A. (201, October 29). Ouch! What Bug Bit Me? Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty-photos/how-to-identify-common-bug-bites.aspx#05
Davis, MD,PhD, C. (2014, May 21). Bug Bite Treatment: Get Tips on Home Remedies. Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.medicinenet.com/bug_bite_treatment/views.htm
Mercola, MD, J. (2013, July 20). How to Naturally Prevent and Treat Insect Bites. Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/22/insect-bite-treatment.aspx