10 bug bite pointers: What bit you and how you should treat it
Regardless of the time of year, insects abound. Even if you keep your house really clean, spiders somehow seem to make their way inside, and you may wake up with a mysterious red welt in the morning. If you live near the woods or go on vacation to a state park, you will probably be exposed to more biting insects.
Sometimes you see what bites you, but sometimes you only see the results. With the guide below, you might be able to figure out what bit you and how to best treat the bite in order to get the best relief.
1. Spiders. Spider bites are fairly common and look like a common bug bite, leaving a red, itchy bump. According to the Mayo Clinic, you only need to seek medical attention if you develop stomach cramping, severe pain, trouble breathing or an ulcer at the center of the bite. For regular bites, the Mayo Clinic recommends cleaning the bite and applying an antibiotic ointment for good measure. If you are having discomfort, you can elevate the bite or apply a cool compress and take an over-the-counter pain killer.
2. Fleas. Fleas generally ride around on animals and come into a home on a pet. Once inside, they can bread in carpets and bedding. Medical News Today says that flea bites appear as a “small scab surrounded by a light red halo.” They may appear in groups of 3 or 4 and generally on the lower legs and ankles. The best treatment for flea bites is to use something to stop the itching. Tea tree oil, calamine lotion, cortisone cream, vinegar and oral antihistamines are all good options.
3. Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are often out in force in summer. With mosquitoes, come mosquito bites. Healthline says they appear immediately after a bite and are round, puffy bumps that turn red and harden. If scratched, they can get larger. The best way to treat these bites, according to WebMD, is to not scratch, wash them with soap and water, put on calamine lotion or a topical antihistamine, use some ice for the swelling and, if necessary, take an oral antihistamine.
4. Fire ants. Two types of fire ants exist in the States: red fire ants and black fire ants. Their bites, according to Medical News Today, are very distinctive. Appearing within 20 minutes of being bite, the bites are puss-filled, pimple-like blisters on the skin. The best way to treat fire ant bites is with topical antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream. If that’s unavailable, a cold compress or oral antihistamine may work. The biggest help is to not scratch!
5. Ticks. Ticks get on you when walking through talk grass or through wooded areas. Healthline says that they like to bite in the armpits, groin or hair. If you have a tick bite, generally, the tick is still attached at the center of the bite. If the tick happens to be gone, bites are red in the center and form a circular rash. They may be accompanied by pain, swelling, burning or blisters. The best treatment is to remove the tick, treat the area with alcohol or iodine, and see a doctor to be sure that you haven’t picked up any of the diseases they often carry. To remove the tick, the CDC recommends using tweezers and grabbing the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out. Once it’s removed kill the bug by placing it in alcohol.
6. Wasps. Wasps sting, not bite, but the sting is still bothersome. Healthline describes the sting as a “raised welt.” Sometimes you can see a “tiny white mark . . . in the middle of the welt where the stinger punctured your skin.” To treat the sting, wash the area with soap and water and use a cold compress for pain.
7. Bees. Bee stings are slightly different from wasps in that they leave their stingers behind, allowing their venom to continue to release until the venom sack is empty. According to MedicineNet.com, a bee sting appears red and painful and may develop some swelling and itching. The best way to treat it is to remove the stinger immediately. Then wash the wound and apply a cold compress. If you are still uncomfortable, apply a hydrocortisone cream. Because people can be allergic to bee stings, monitor the sting, and if you develop severe swelling in the site or have trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
8. Horse flies. Horse fly bites are extremely painful and can be difficult to heal because of the way the fly bites. Rather than puncturing the skin to suck blood, the fly makes more of a cut. According to Medical News Today, their bites are generally red and surrounded by a swollen, “hive-like” area. The best way to treat a horse fly bites is to wash it with soap and water and put on a cold compress and hydrocortisone cream. Don’t scratch as you can cause infection to set in.
9. Chiggers. According to WebMD, chiggers leave tiny, red, bump-like blisters or a hive-like rash. The rash can cover your waist or lower legs and last one to two weeks. If you suspect you have chiggers, you should examine your body for what appears to be tiny moving red dots. If you find them, take a hot shower and wash with soap and water. Then wash all your clothes, bedding and towels. To help with any itching, a topical antihistamine ointment should to the trick.
10. Bed bugs. These nasty little critters generally can’t be felt when they bite. They aren’t particular where on the body they bite either. Medical News Today does state that you will see the results of bed bug bites later. The bites appear as red dots or inflammations, generally showing up in a zig-zag pattern. Typical bite treatments work best, using hydrocortisone cream or antihistamine lotion. If you have bed bug problems, be sure to treat for bed bugs to solve the problem.
By arming yourself with how to treat common bug bites, you can feel free to enjoy the outdoors during all seasons. Information is power.