Unfortunately, the summer months are filled with creepy-crawly critters. Most bites and stings will only cause minor discomfort, but some can be lethal, especially if you have severe allergies to insect venom.
One of the first steps to deciding if your bug bite or sting might be something more serious is to look at some of the key symptoms. Here are some things you should know about bug bites to determine if they might require medical attention.
Fire ant bite
Fire ants are small red or black venomous ants with a painful sting. The bites are most often red spots with a blister on top. These stings will burn, itch and last up to a week. Fire ants may cause a dangerous allergic reaction in some people, characterized by swelling, generalized itching and difficulty breathing.
Flies can cause inflammatory reactions at the site of the bite. The result is a painful, itchy rash that although is usually harmless, may lead to severe allergic reactions or spread insect-borne diseases.
In particular, mosquitoes are common carriers of dangerous illnesses like Zika, malaria, or yellow fever, so take great caution in geographical areas known for these breakouts—particularly if you’ve traveled recently.
Tick bites can cause early pain and swelling, or the sting can result in rashes, burning sensations, blisters and difficulty breathing. The tick often remains attached to the skin for a long time, so be sure to remove the pest as soon as possible. If the rash is red and target-shaped, be wary of Lyme disease, which must be treated with antibiotics. Ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a bacterial infection that causes a spreading red or black spotty rash.
Most spider bites are harmless, but some might cause a more serious medical condition. Dangerous spiders include brown recluse, black widow, hobo spider, tarantula and wolf spiders.
Signs include a single raised bump at the site of the bite, followed by redness and tenderness. Severe allergic reactions to a spider bite may require medical attention.
Although bedbug bites are not lethal, it’s essential to recognize them quickly. When a bedbug bites, it injects an anesthetic that makes it difficult for the victim to realize until marks appear. Bedbugs won’t transfer diseases, but an infestation spreads swiftly, so the pests need to be exterminated as soon as possible.