Summertime means nicer weather and more time spent outside. However, we're not the only ones spending more time outside. All different types of bugs come out when the weather is warmer. It's important to know how to identify each bug and the bug bite so that you know when treatment is appropriate. Most bites will cause itching or slight swelling and can be treated with antihistamines, pain relievers, and cold packs. It's important to always avoid itching the bites because it can cause more problems. If you experience any other serious symptoms (shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain), seek medical attention immediately.
Bees & Wasps
Bees are flying insects that have signature black stripes on yellow bodies. Wasps are bigger and longer versions of bees. If you see a stinger left behind, it was most likely a bee that stung you. When stung, you should remove the stinger with tweezers and clean the affected area with soap and water. Wasp stings can cause swelling and redness, but since their stingers are not barbed it won't stay attached to your skin. If yoru tetanus shot isn't up-to-date, you will need to get a booster shot from your practitioner as soon as possible. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction and you have an epinephrine pen, use it immediately.
Fleas are small reddish-brown insects that are about 2.5 millimeters long and can jump long distances. They suck blood from their host to feed. Flea bites look like red circles around red spots. Bites are often found near legs, ankles, behind knees, elbows, and armpits. Flea bites are usually found in groups of three or four – often creating a small rash of red bumps that can sometimes bleed. If you see pus from a wound, seek medical attention immediately as it may be infected. Typically, flea bites are easily treated with over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or antihistamines.
Mosquitos are flying insects with small bodies and long legs. The bite looks like a round, hard skin bump that can become irritated. The majority of mosquito bites will only cause annoying itching. However, if you experience body aches, fever, and vomiting within 2 weeks of being bitten, seek immediate medical attention as some mosquitos carry the West Nile Virus, which can be passed to humans.
Ticks look like small spiders and have a flat body before feeding and a rounded body after feeding. Ticks are often found in plants and brush, and often bite humans and animals. A bite typically looks like a dime sized red spot and it may have a black dot in the center. To treat a bite, be sure to remove the tick by using tweezers to grab the tick as close to your skin's surface as possible and pulling upward. It is important to get the entire tick out to avpid infection. If the bite becomes a red, circular rash seek immediate medical attention as this can indicate Lyme Disease..