An allergic reaction to a bug bite on someone's arm in Houston, TX

Allergic Reaction To Bug Bites and Stings

Bug Bite Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Houston, TX

Bug bites are common summer occurrences. While contact with an insect is mostly harmless, you may develop an allergic reaction to a bug bite. To protect your health, look to Village Emergency Centers as your guide to bug bite allergic reaction symptoms in Houston, TX.

The Risks of Bug Bites

The Lone Star State is home to a myriad of different insect species, elevating the risk of bug bites. Most of the time, these occurrences are no cause for concern. While certain insects are known to carry disease and infection, the more common occurrence is an allergic reaction to a bug bite or sting.

Knowing When to Take Action

If you’ve never been diagnosed with an allergy, you may not be aware of the symptoms of allergic reactions to a bug bite. That’s where Village Emergency Centers comes in. We’re here to highlight not only the common insect allergies but also the warning signs of an allergic reaction and what to do to mitigate hazards.

Exploring Insect Bites & Stings

Houston, TX, and the surrounding areas are no strangers to a range of different insects. With that comes exposure to various potential bites and stings. Although allergies do not discriminate, certain insects are more notorious for causing allergic reactions than others. These insects typically fall into the Hymenoptera family.

The Hymenoptera Insect Family

The term Hymenoptera may be foreign to you. However, the insects that fall into this category are surely familiar. This class of insects includes common pests such as:

  • Honeybees
  • Hornets
  • Wasps
  • Yellowjackets
  • Fire ants

Different Types of Insect Stings

Not all insect stings are the same, even if the insects fall into the same insect family. Yellowjackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants have the ability to sting a person multiple times. In contrast, honeybees do not sting repeatedly as they have barbed stingers that become lodged into the skin following a single sting.

How to Remove a Stinger

Bee stings leave behind a stinger lodged in your skin. It’s important to refrain from pulling the stringer out with your fingers or tweezers, as this can accidentally expel more venom. To safely remove it, flick or scrape it away using your fingernail or a dull-edge object.

Symptoms of a Non-Allergic Reaction Insect Sting

Wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, and bee sting allergic reactions are fairly common. However, not all stings equate to allergic reactions. A normal sting reaction typically involves localized redness and minor swelling, discomfort, or itching surrounding the sting site. These symptoms usually subside within a few hours of the incident.

Identifying an Allergic Reaction to a Bee Sting

Wasp, hornet, yellowjacket, and bee sting allergic reactions will cause abnormal symptoms. When a person is allergic to the insect sting, the reaction does not remain localized. Instead, it may spread throughout the body with the potential to trigger a medical emergency known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.

Symptoms of a Bee String Allergic Reaction

Insect sting allergic reactions must be treated immediately to mitigate life-threatening hazards. Symptoms of these medical emergencies include:

  • Hives, itching, and/or swelling across the majority of the body
  • Tongue, lips, eyes, and/or throat swelling
  • Chest tightness and difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramping
  • Sudden blood pressure drops
  • Shock
  • Hoarse voice
  • Loss of consciousness

How to Handle Bee Sting Allergic Reaction

If you or your child is stung by a bee, wasp, hornet, or yellowjacket and begin experiencing an allergic reaction, it’s critical to act fast. These cases demand immediate intervention. If you have an EpiPen, use it to slow the reaction and then call 911 or get to the nearest emergency center.

Insect Sting Allergy Treatment

Once you have arrived at an emergency medical center, you or your child will be seen immediately to mitigate the devastating risks of insect sting allergic reactions. Treatment varies depending on the patient’s age, overall health, and the severity of their allergy. Before returning home, you may be provided with antihistamines, an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen), or oral steroids.

Insect Sting Allergy Diagnosis

If you have never experienced an allergic reaction before, it may be time to consider an allergy test. Allergy tests are conducted by an allergist using a skin assessment procedure. Your allergist will be able to determine the exact allergy and the most effective treatment and prevention techniques, which may include immunotherapy using insect venom injections.

Beyond Insect Stings

Wasp, hornet, yellowjacket, and bee sting allergic reactions are most prominent. However, that does not make them the sole insects to look out for. In fact, virtually any insect may spark an allergic reaction. These reactions may include mosquito or fire ant allergies that vary from mild to severe depending on the extent of your allergy. 

Understanding Bug Bite Allergic Reactions

In contrast to bee sting allergic reactions, allergic reactions to ant stings and mosquito bites do not come from venomous stings. These insects cause reactions through their bite. Moreover, mosquito allergic reactions are less common than skin infections caused by these common insects. However, in any case, severe reactions call for urgent medical intervention.

Signs of a Mosquito Bite Reaction

In the summer, mosquito bites are extremely common. For most, these allergic reactions are very minimal, including symptoms such as:

  • Minor swelling around the bug bite
  • Pinkish discoloration
  • Itchy skin around the bite
  • Skin that is warm to the touch

Navigating a Mosquito Bug Bite Allergic Reaction  

For most, mosquito bite allergies are non-threatening and can easily be managed at home. To combat discomfort, we recommend:

  • Applying a cold compress to the bug bite area
  • Take Benadryl or another form of antihistamine
  • Apply one-percent hydrocortisone ointment to the affected area to relieve itchy skin

Understanding Bug Bite Skin Infections

Bug bite skin infections are more common than mosquito bite allergic reactions. These cases are not derived from the insect venom but from the dirt and bacteria on your hands. Following a bug bite, you may be inclined to itch. However, if your hands are not clean, you risk triggering an infection.

Symptoms of Bug Bite Skin Infections

If you unintentionally compromise the bug bite, you may experience the onset of a skin infection within 24-48 hours of the initial incident. The symptoms include:

  • Dark red discoloration around the bug bite
  • Redness that spreads away from the bug bite
  • Worsening pain or discomfort
  • Increased bite size

Treating Bug Bite Skin Infections

When you notice symptoms of a bug bite skin infection, it’s imperative to seek care. You may visit Village Emergency Centers or another clinic to secure professional intervention to reverse and alleviate the symptoms and infection. Treatment typically includes antibiotics or medicated topical ointments.

Reaction to Bug Bites: Allergic Reaction vs Normal Reaction

It’s important to note that even if you are allergic to insect stings or bites, you may not have a reaction the first time you experience this unfavorable occurrence. In fact, for many people with insect allergies, allergic reactions may only occur following the second or third incident.

Bug Bite & Sting Prevention Strategies

It can be hard to avoid bugs altogether. However, there are ways to prevent bites and stings to uphold your comfort, health, and safety. To successfully avoid these potentially problematic critters, it’s important to understand their habitat and behaviors. Fortunately, Village Emergency Centers is here to help.

Insect Habitats

Insects are typically active during late spring, summer, and fall. Hornets and wasps are prone to bushes and trees, whereas yellow jackets are commonly found inside walls, in the ground, or swarming garbage and exposed food. On the other hand, mosquitos can be found just about anywhere but are especially drawn to damp and well-lit areas.

Precautions to Combat Stings & Bites

To avoid these bites and stings, be cautious in areas susceptible to housing these insects. Other prevention strategies include:

  • Cover food as much as possible when eating outdoors
  • Ensure garbage cans are fit with sealed lids
  • Wear socks, shoes, and gloves when doing yardwork
  • Avoid sweet-scented perfumes, sprays, and deodorants
  • Keep screens closed

Get Proactive About Your Allergies

To keep severe allergic reactions at bay, it’s important to be proactive. To reduce the risk of emergency situations, we recommend:

  • Schedule an appointment with an allergist to diagnose specific allergies
  • Carry prescribed allergy medication and/or EpiPens with you at all times
  • Seek care the moment you detect a severe reaction

Hazardous Insects to Look Out for

Even if you do not have allergies, there are several insects known for their severe health hazards. Other dangerous Insects we recommend looking out for include:

  • Brown recluse spiders
  • Ticks
  • Fleas
  • Black widow spiders
  • Scorpions

Identifying Risks Beyond Bug Bite Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions can be very severe and require urgent medical attention. However, other hazardous insects can be equally as harmful without the immediate reaction symptoms. Mosquitos, brown recluse and black widow spiders, ticks, and other insects are notorious for carrying a number of diseases and have the ability to cause life-threatening infections.

Diseases & Infections Linked to Bug Bites & Stings

Bites and stings can result in severe illness or infection, with symptoms that may not be immediately apparent. The common diseases and infections linked to bug bites and stings include:

  • Lyme disease
  • West Nile virus
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Skin infections

Seek Emergency Care With Village Emergency Centers

If you or a loved one has been stung or bitten by an insect and is experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction, look to Village Emergency Centers. For immediate medical attention, visit one of our three 24-hour, walk-in emergency centers. For non-emergency assistance, contact us today.