An insect bite is, simply put, a bite that someone gets from an insect. It can be a simple bite like a sting that leaves a small mark, or an insect might have drawn blood such as a mosquitoes. A variety of different insects leave bites on humans for a number of reasons. You should pay attention to the signs of an insect bites in case you need to get medical treatment, such as the venom causing an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of Insect Bites
The main symptoms of an insect bite is a stinging or itching sensation followed by redness or swelling around the bitten area. There are also delayed reactions to insect bites like swollen glands, fever, hives, and painful joints. The signs and symptoms of insect bites can vary from mild to severe, with the high severity symptoms being signs of an allergic reaction to the venom. Occasionally, people will have severe reactions to the insect bite such as nausea, difficulty breathing, facial swelling, abdominal pain, and deterioration of blood pressure and circulation, also known as shock. Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and fire ants tend to cause more severe symptoms. Mosquitoes, ticks, ants, scorpions, biting flies, and some spiders can cause reactions though it depends on the person and the species of insect. Some insects may also carry Lyme disease or the West Nile virus.
Treating Insect Bites
If you had just a mild reaction to the insect bite, start by moving to another area to avoid additional stings or bites, such as if you got it while camping or hiking. If you have a stinger, remove it if you’re able to prevent more venom from spreading. Apply a cold pack to the area to reduce swelling and help alleviate pain. Take a pain reliever if you have it, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Topical cream to the area can also help with the itching and easy some of the pain. Look for a topical cream containing hydrocortisone, pramoxine, or lidocaine. To soothe itchy skin, calamine lotion will help. For allergic reactions, antihistamines can help. However if you experience other signs of an allergic reaction like cramping or nausea, seek medical attention.
If you’re experiencing a severe reaction to the bite such as confusion, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramping, seek medical help immediately. Loosen the clothing of the person with the allergic reaction and cover them with a blanket, but don’t give them anything to drink. Find out if they have any type of medications on them for an allergy attack and administer as directed. Turn the person on their side to prevent choking or bleeding from the mouth and begin CPR if they are not breathing or showing movement.