Insect bites are usually not something to be concerned about, but it is still necessary to be informed as many insects out there carry potentially life-threatening diseases and infections. Here is a guide to inform you about everything you should consider when treating insect bites. Some are worse than others so it’s important you know when to seek medical attention for a bug bite.
Symptoms to Look Out For After an Insect Bite
The following symptoms are general symptoms that indicate something isn’t right and should be treated by a medical professional. If other symptoms you develop are concerning to you, but are not on this list, we still encourage you to consult with a doctor.
- Trouble Breathing
- Difficulty Swallowing
Insects and Bugs to Look Out For
- Fire Ants
- Brown Recluse Spider
- Black Widow Spider
Diseases Caused By Insect Bites
Lyme disease can spread through the bite of an infected tick. This illness can be treated effectively if caught early, but it not it can present itself in the form of fever, headache, tiredness, and a rash that resembles a “bulls-eye.” Treatment involves a round of antibiotics in order to prevent the infection from spreading to the joints, heart, and nervous system.
West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes which bite and produce similar symptoms to the flu such as fever, headache, stiffness in the neck area, body aches, and rashes on the skin. While most infected individuals suffer from mild symptoms that don’t limit their ability to do daily tasks, others can succumb to death if treatment is not taken. Treatment involves caring for the ill and providing anti-viral therapy.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain fever is hard to spot as it only shows itself after day 6 of infection. One out of ten people never show signs of rashes, which makes it even more difficult to detect. This is why it’s very important to be aware of your surroundings and any bites you experience by checking your body after a day outside. Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, migraines, extreme neck pain, muscle aches, and food aversion.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Sometimes the sting of a particular insect is what we most often worry about, but there are other factors that could lead to equally concerning consequences. Even though an insect is not harmful, if you are bitten by multiple bugs at the same time (an example would be fire ants or bee stings), this could cause serious damage to your health if not attended immediately. Bugs carry toxins that can be lethal in large amounts. For this reason, play close attention to your surroundings and take note of where you see ant hills, bee hives, or other concentrated areas with bugs.
Allergic Reactions Following an Insect Bite
Sometimes insect bites may cause a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. This reaction can be fatal because of how fast it develops with severe symptoms such as wheezing, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intense anxiety, dizziness, breathing problems, trouble swallowing, tightness of the chest, and itching or swelling of the eyes, lips, or other parts of the face. This medical emergency requires immediate medical attention. Please contact 911 as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Insect Bites
The best way to avoid emergencies and the uncomfortable nuisances that come from them is by taking precautionary measures when you are exposed to the insects’ habitats.
- When you know you will be heading into the woods, make sure to wear insect repellant and take the repellant with you to reapply. Many fail to understand that temporary protectors fade after a certain time lapse.
- Also, try to wear clothing that covers as much of your body as possible to avoid exposed skin. Your clothing will be another barrier for the insects.
- Do not wear scented products such as lotions, perfume, aftershave, hairspray, hair gel, etc.
- Don’t allow for water to sit around in large puddles in your backyard, as these can draw in mosquitoes.
- Do not panic and swat at the insects. They will read your hasty movements as a threat and start attacking.
Insect Bite Treatment
If your insect bite does not present any of the symptoms listed above, you can treat it at home. It’s very important to keep the bite clean as it could become infected if not cared for properly.
- Wash the insect bite with soap and water.
- Apply pressure and ice wrapped in a bag or towel to reduce swelling. You may do this for up to 20 minutes once per hour for the initial 6 hours after the bite.
- For pain, you can take aspirin or acetaminophen.
- For itching, you can choose between oral antihistamine or a cream to apply directly to the bite.
- Do not scratch. Scratching will break the skin and expose it to infection.
Treatment Near You
At Village Emergency Centers, we strive to provide you and your loved ones quality medical emergency care. Stop at any of our 3 locations if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or if you are concerned as to when to seek medical attention for a bug bite. It is our sole duty to aid you in high-risk situations. Our River Oaks emergency room, Katy emergency room, and Clear Creek emergency room are ready to assist you at a moment’s notice.
Our emergency centers are conveniently open 24/7 and accept walk-ins because we know emergencies are not events that can be planned. Get directions here to visit one of our locations.