Summer and bugs go hand in hand.Once the mercury starts rising, creepy, crawling bugs come out of their winter hiding spots.
Bug bites range from annoying and itchy to downright dangerous, depending on the bug. Here are some simple tips on how to recognize bug bites and how to treat them.
Those long-legged flying bugs are the culprits of the most common bug bite in the summer. Once the sun begins to set and the beautiful summer night haze sets in, bundle up! Mosquitoes thrive at dusk; and because it is so warm outside people rarely cover exposed skin. If you are unlucky enough to get one, two or many mosquito bites, here is how to tell. The bump with be pink or red and it will itch, itch like crazy.
Treating a mosquito bite is simple: clean it with soap and water to get out any germs or irritants. A cold compress can help reduce itching. While it might be initially satisfying to scratch an itch, resist. This can break the skin which can lead to an infection. An old wives tale is to mix baking soda and water and putting the paste on the bite. If the itching is severe, take a Benadryl to help.
While most mosquito bites are just annoying, a bad bite can turn serious. Mosquitoes are one of the main carriers of the West Nile virus, which has very serious side affects.
Once a bee flies around a group of people, watch them dance around to avoid the bee. For some reason most people are terrified of bee stings; most people can remember their first bee sting vividly. A bee sting is like a welt. It rarely itches but it burns.
If the stinger is still in the sting, don’t squeeze it while you are pulling it out. That will squirt more of the venom into the bite. Instead, use a flat, firm surface edge to scrape it out. (Think a credit card.) Like all bug wounds, clean with with soap and water. If the sting continues to hurt, use ice (10-minutes on and 10-minutes off) to help numb the pain.
There can be serious side effects from bee stings. Hives can develop but are rarely serious. An antihistamine will usually clear that up. But some people are severely allergic to bee stings. This reaction is called anaphylaxis and the symptoms include a swelling throat and/or nausea. If this happens, call 911 immediately.
These can be the worst because spiders actually have to crawl on you to bite. And some spider bites can be very serious. The most important thing to do is to use ice compressions to help slow the venom from entering into your blood stream. Use a simple over the counter pain medication to manage the pain.
If you can, take a good look at what spider bite you. Some spider bites, like from black widows, can be deadly. Identifying the offender will help your doctor know who to treat the bite.