In the spring and summer, outside and at home we often get bitten or stung by various bugs. To avoid unpleasant complications it’s important to learn to tell apart the different types of bites and how to treat them.
Here are the 9 most common types:
1. Mosquito bite.
A mosquito bite looks like a reddened subcutaneous bump and causes a notorious itch. As a rule, it requires no special treatment, except maybe some soothing ointment.
However, if the bite is accompanied by fever, joint aches, or swelling of the lymph nodes, do not hesitate to consult a physician: it may be a sign of infection in the blood.
2. Flea bite.
These bites are very itchy. Typically flea bites appear in clusters of 3 or 4 and resemble small red bumps.
The first thing to do is rinse them with soapy water. Then apply zinc ointment or other anti-itching agent to the skin. Do not scratch the bites—this is a good way to introduce an infection.
3. Bedbug bite.
Bedbug bites don’t always look the same. Some people barely notice them, while others suffer an intense allergic reaction followed by itching and soreness.
Apart from skin damage, typical symptoms include pain, itchiness, dermatitis, and for those with allergies, swelling and even blistering.
The best way to get rid of bedbugs is hygiene. So the first thing to do is to wash your whole body with soap, paying special attention to the bite areas. In some cases you may also need to take anti-inflammatory and antihistamine drugs.
4. Spider bite.
Aside from a few species (such as the black widow or the recluse spider), most spider bites are harmless. A spider bite often looks like two dots in a circle.
If you’ve been bitten by a spider, start with rinsing the bite area with soapy water. Then apply ice to the bite and take a pain pill, if necessary. If the bite is swelling, take antihistamines.
However, if the symptoms are more severe or you suspect the spider was venomous, see a doctor as soon as possible.
5. Tick bite.
These parasites that often live on pets, especially dogs, can be very dangerous to humans. Ticks are known carriers of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and Lyme disease.
If a tick has fastened on to you, you must remove it as quickly as possible, avoiding folk methods like oil, gasoline, or burning. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Thoroughly clean the bite with water and soap.
A tick carrying a virus usually needs up to 48 hours to infect you with it, so always check for ticks after comg back from a hike.
6. Ant bite.
Some ants, especially fire ants, are venomous, and their bites cause itchiness, inflammation and irritation of the skin. If these symptoms persist, apply cortisone ointment.
If there are blisters, don’t pop them to avoid infection. In case of blistering seek immediate medical help.
7. Scorpion sting.
A scorpion sting can be dangerous, depending on various factors, such as the species, the age of the person (stings are more dangerous to children), and the amount of venom injected.
As with other venomous animals, the first thing to do is remove the stinger, if it’s still there. Use needle-nose pliers to do it: pincers can pop the poison sac, releasing more venom into the body.
Then thoroughly wash the sting area with soapy water and apply an icepack for 10 minutes. Repeat the procedure. If your condition is getting worse, seek immediate medical assistance.
8. Wasp sting.
9. Bee sting.
These insects’ venom is not dangerous in itself, although it is quite painful. However, many people are allergic to it. In this case you should call a doctor immediately.
To reduce swelling, apply vinegar to the sting area. Bees often leave their stinger in the skin, in which case it should be removed with pincers.
Save this info for later use: you never know when it may come in handy!