Dealing with insects and bugs is a part of life that everyone must deal with. Sometimes those bugs are not the most friendly to their human counterparts. Whether it happens while camping or a mystery bite that showed up one morning, everyone has had a bug bite. Identifying what kind of bug it might have been is essential to figuring out the best method of treatment. What may work for a mosquito bite may in fact make a flea bite worse, so it is important to know exactly what kind of bite is being dealt with. Ideally this would be done by capturing the bug in the midst of their attack, but that is rarely possible. Most often the bug has to be captured with sticky tape or the pattern to the bites has to be identified and matched with typical bug behavior.
One of the most common bug bites that one can get both indoors and outdoors is from a mosquito. These kinds of bites are characterized by a raised red bump on the skin that itches intensely. Mosquito bites are most often on exposed areas of skin such as arms, legs, head or the neck. Sometimes the bite can be on a clothed area but this is less common. The bite will normally itch intensely for a few days and then it goes away. The best treatment for a mosquito bite is to control the itching.Using an antihistamine cream or pill, like Benadryl, is a good way to keep the itching under control. Calamine lotion also can keep the bite from itching for short periods of time. In the majority of cases that is all that is required. However, should any severe reaction be experienced or any unusual symptoms are present then medical attention should be sought at once. Allergy to a mosquito bite is rare but it can happen. Mosquitoes also can carry West Nile Virus that, although very rarely transmitted to humans, can be life threatening if not treated.
Bed bugs are nasty little critters that are becoming more and more common in urban areas. They are one of the leading causes of bug bites on humans. They are tiny insects that rarely reach more than a quarter of an inch long as adults. During the day they hide in dark corners and crevices and emerge at night to feed on the blood of mammals, this includes humans. Signs of a bed bug infestation are usually very clear. There will be a small cluster of red bumps that appear to be a rash. Most often they appear on the extremities and uncovered areas of skin. Some people do not experience any itching or swelling with bed bug bites at all and the bite itself is not painful. However, most people will experience an allergic reaction to the saliva of the bed bug and experience itching and swelling for several days. Antihistamines are a good remedy to control the itching. Warm water has also been known to help soothe the bites.
Fleas are another small insect that feeds on blood to survive. Unlike bed bugs however, they are always introduced into a human environment by an animal host. Since they follow much of the same pattern as bed bugs, bites from these bugs are often confused with bed bug bites. Most humans are bit by fleas at night while they sleep. Most bites tend to occur on the legs and ankles although they can sometimes occur on the waist and torso as well. Similarly to bed bugs, not everyone experiences a negative reaction. So two people in the same house could both be experiencing flea bites but only one will itch. Antihistamine creams or pills are the best way to combat itching from flea bites. Unlike most other bug bites, warm water will make itching from flea bites worse rather than better. Cold is a much better way to curb itching, so an ice pack on the affected area can be a great remedy.
Spider bites are a kind of bug bite that people fear but that they largely don’t understand. Actual spider bites are not very common and most often the bite is something else but is mistaken for a spider bite. These are a very distinctive kind of bite because they cause a large red welt that almost looks like a blister. The symptoms will be much the same as a bee sting with itching, swelling, pain at the bite and a red welt surrounding the bite. Most spider bites are not dangerous and the symptoms can be controlled with antihistamine and antibiotics if it becomes infected. However, if the spider is known to be poisonous or any unusual symptoms occur medical attention should be sought immediately. Brown recluse spider bites are very distinctive because there is a sharp pain associated with the bite. The actual bite will appear to be a bruise and be dark brown or blue in color.
Ticks are a common outdoor bug that can and does bite people that run across it. Ticks should be a likely suspect if the bite is on the lower portion of the body and the person has recently spent time outdoors. Ticks attach themselves to the skin of their prey and feed on their blood until they drop off. Normally ticks bites are not dangerous apart from some itching and redness. However, some ticks can carry Lyme disease and if unusual symptoms appear or the bite starts to resemble a bulls-eye then medical attention is necessary.
The most useful advice for any bug bite is to try and identify the kind of bug that was the culprit. After the identification is made, an assessment can be made over whether this bite presents a medical danger and needs a doctor’s attention or if home treatment is acceptable. The best home treatments will focus on controlling the itch associated with the bite so that the urge to scratch it is lessened and the bite won’t become infected. If home treatments do not help or the symptoms worsen then go see a doctor because something more serious may be going on that cannot be handled at home.