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Properly Treating Bug Bites

No one lives in Florida for long without getting some type of bug bite.  And with spring and summer on the horizon, it’s not unusual to get multiple different types of bites – mosquitoes, ants, spiders, wasps, bees and more.  The bites usually heal without any medical assistance, but are super annoying to deal with.  They itch, they’re sore and they are uncomfortable.

Identifying the bite

If you can, it’s a good idea to identify what type of bite you have.

* Mosquito bites are usually puffy and red and look a lot like hives. They itch a lot.

* Some spider bites may cause an entire area (such as a thumb or finger) to swell and get very red. In other cases, you may see a large red or brown scaly patch.

* The bite from a fire ant is usually small, very lumpy and shows a blister within 24 hours of the bite. When you get bit by a fire ant, you will feel the bite as soon as it happens.  It stings.

* Like the fire ant, if you get stung by a bee or wasp, you will feel the sharp sting immediately. You can usually see a little hole where the stinger went into the skin and surrounding area will get red and swollen.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites usually heal without any problem, so long as you don’t scratch them!  However, they itch like crazy and it’s not unusual for someone who is sleeping to scratch them in their sleep.  Use some anti-itch cream or even a bandage to keep your hands off the bite.

Spider Bites

If you think you’ve been bit by a spider, keep the area clean by using mild soap and water.  Don’t scratch and don’t pick at the bite.  Use ice or over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs to reduce pain and swelling.

Spider bites can take several months to heal.  If the bite is not from a black widow or a brown recluse, the biggest risk from a spider bite is from an infection at the site.  A bite from a poisonous spider must be carefully watched to ensure that ulcers don’t form and that the nervous system is not affected.

Fire Ant Bites

Fire ant bites should be treated with an anti-itch cream immediately.  If the itching gets too bad, you may want to apply some topical antihistamine to help combat the feeling.

Bee Stings

If you see the stinger, using clean tweezers – carefully pull it out.  Wash the stung area with mild soap and water and then use ice to help reduce the swelling.  If the sting site starts to itch, use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream to manage the symptoms until it starts to heal.

When to seek Professional Help

If you experience any allergic reaction, see signs of an infection, or have been bit more than usual (like multiple bee stings or a leg-full of fire ant bites), you might want to get medical treatment as soon as possible.  Some spider bites can bring severe physical symptoms such as vomiting, muscle cramps, faintness, chest pains or abdominal pain.  Any severe physical symptoms should mean a trip to the ER immediately.  If you are unsure of whether to get help or not, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and make the trip.

08 Apr
2015

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