Ouch, What Bit Me?
Posted on June 12, 2023
Summer brings camping, hiking, pool days, and barbecues, and unfortunately, there are usually pesky insects not too far away. Many of them are harmless and won’t bother you, while others see you as their next meal. If you become a victim, bug bites are usually not too severe but sometimes leave us with itchy, irritated skin.
The best way to protect yourself from insect bites is to keep your skin covered by wearing pants and long sleeves. If you have any exposed skin, it is best to use an insect repellent outdoors. Try avoiding eating foods and wearing fragrances that may attract bugs. Insects are most active during the sunrise and sunset.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A BUG BITE
Even though it’s tough to follow this advice, remember that itching the area is the worst thing you can do for a bug bite. By scratching the bite, you are increasing the chances of the area becoming infected or scarring. There are several at-home remedies that you can try to ease the itching and swelling of your bite.
- Ice the area to help with swelling.
- Topical creams such as Hydrocortisone ointment or antihistamine to help with itching and swelling. These can be found at your local drugstore.
- Oatmeal and water mixture can help with inflammation.
- Apply a small amount of honey to an itchy bite and cover it with a bandage to help with inflammation.
- Vinegar can be used to reduce stinging and burning sensations.
If a bug bite does become infected, the skin will usually become red and warm to the touch. Sometimes a pocket of pus can develop in a hair follicle or skin gland. A red swollen mark shouldn’t alarm you unless you are experiencing other symptoms. Additional symptoms to watch for include, but are not limited to:
- Ongoing redness
- New red spots or streaks
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms accompanied by a bug bite, you should seek medical attention.
HOW TO IDENTIFY DIFFERENT BUG BITES
Bed Bug Bites: These look similar to mosquito bites as they are small, red, welt-like bites. Bed bugs multiply quickly, so you will usually have bites that appear in a pattern if multiple bugs are feeding.
Bee Sting: You will usually know immediately when you have been stung by a bee. The area around the sting usually becomes red, and the spot where the stinger went in may become a different color entirely.
Spider Bite: These are actually rarer than you would think. Spider bites look similar to other bug bites, which can sometimes be hard to differentiate. Sometimes, you can see two small puncture holes next to each other.
Tick Bite: These bites don’t always leave behind any marks. Most often, you will find the tick on you, and it’s important to remove the tick properly by using tweezers and pulling it straight off as close to the skin as possible. If you do end up seeing a red bullseye area where you pulled the tick off, you should seek medical attention.
Flea Bites: These are small red or brown bites that appear in clusters of 3. These bites are usually very itchy and tender.
Chigger bites: These can be similar to flea bites, but chigger bites are more common. These mites come from animals, and chigger bites are usually found around the waistline, wrists, and ankles.
Any time you notice that you have a bug bite, make sure to wash the skin right away with soap and water. Try seeking at-home remedies first, and if these don’t work or your symptoms worsen, seek medical attention.