Bug bites: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Bug bites and stings usually are just nuisances. They bring momentary alarm, temporary discomfort and pain, but no serious or lasting health problems. But on occasion, they can cause infections that require treatment and allergic reactions that can be serious, even fatal.
Insect bites and stings can cause an immediate skin reaction. The bite from fire ants and the sting from bees, wasps, and hornets are usually painful. Bites caused by mosquitoes, fleas, and mites are more likely to cause itching than pain.
There are many different kinds of bug bites that cause swelling. Depending on the level of sensitivity of the skin, it should generally only swell because a foreign chemical is introduced. This is not necessarily a poison.
Types of bug bites
- Spider bites.
- Bed bug bites.
- Bees, wasps, and hornets.
- Centipede bites.
- Snake bites.
- Scorpion bites.
The important thing to realize about bugs and insects is that they don't eat the same way that humans do. Many other living creatures metabolize and eat in very different ways, and often use poisons and other chemicals in order to both catch and eat their prey. These chemicals are sometimes very hazardous to humans and sometimes fairly inert. Some spider bites, for example, such as the brown recluse spider, injects a chemical into the skin that actually begins to break down and digest the skin all around the bite. It's a very nasty type of bite that often causes widespread damage to the area around the bite.
Most bug bites that cause swelling however are localized and cause swelling more because of the body's attempt to isolate and deal with the foreign chemical without letting it spread. Most bug bites that swell are fairly safe, and unless the bite persists and gets worse, they should fade away and stop itching within 2-3 days. The body absorbs the foreign toxin and then gets rid of it. But like we said earlier, the most important thing a person can do with a bug bite is to watch it, and if it continues to worsen, to seek medical attention.
Parents should know the signs of an infection or allergic reaction, and when to get medical attention. Inform all caregivers if a child has any history of complications so they know what to do in the event of a bug bite or sting.
The nonemergency symptoms vary according to the type of insect and the individual. Most people have localized pain, redness, swelling, or itching. You may also feel burning, numbness, or tingling.
Intensity of symptoms tends to vary from one individual to another. Due to this reason, some individuals do not show any noticeable signs of bed bug bites whereas some are susceptible to allergic reactions, depending on body's reaction to the chemicals present in saliva of bed bugs.
Allergy symptoms can range from severe itching and hives to anaphylaxis.
Accurate diagnosis or to rule out the possibility of flea or bedbug bites, the SCRATCH test is often used to identify:
Symmetry — Most patients with insect-bite hypersensitivity reactions present with symmetrical eruptions on the face, neck, arms, and legs, with sparing of the diaper area, palms, and soles of the feet.
- Clusters — "Lesions usually appear in a 'meal cluster,' sometimes described as 'breakfast, lunch, and dinner.'" "These linear or triangular groupings of lesions are characteristic of bedbug bites; however, they may also be seen in flea bites."
- Rover Not Required — The diagnosis is not dependent on the presence of household pets. Exposure could come from periodic visits to a relative's house, for example.
- Age-specific — The condition is most prevalent in children between the ages of two and 10.
- Target Lesions/Time — Bull's-eye-rashes are typical of insect-bite reactions. "Time" refers to the chronic nature of the eruption and the need for patience and watchful waiting. Parents are advised to prevent secondary infections with appropriate use of nail and hand hygiene and moisturizers.
- Confusion — Parents are confused by the conflicting information they have been given, and the referring practitioner may find it hard to accept the diagnosis of an admittedly confusing condition.
- Household — Unlike scabies or dermatitis, insect-bite reactions may affect only household members who are hypersensitive, and could be confined to a single person.
Bee and Wasp Stings Treatment Options:
A bee will leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. Try to remove it as quickly as possible.
- Wash the area carefully with soap and water. Do this two to three times a day until the skin is healed.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or a cold, wet washcloth for a few minutes.
- Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
- For pain and itching, give an over-the-counter oral antihistamine if your child's doctor says it's OK; follow dosage instructions for your child's age and weight. You could also apply a corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion to the sting area.
A sting anywhere in the mouth warrants immediate medical attention because stings in oral mucous membranes can quickly cause severe swelling that may block airways.
Seek medical care if you notice a large skin rash or swelling around the sting site, or if swelling or pain persists for more than 3 days, which could indicate an infection.
Get medical help right away if you notice any of the following signs, which may indicate a serious or potentially life-threatening allergic reaction:
Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
- Tightness in throat or chest.
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Wash the area carefully with soap and water. Do this two to three times a day until skin is healed. Apply cool compresses. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. To protect against infection, apply an antibiotic ointment and keep the child's hands washed. If you have any reason to suspect a bite by a black widow or brown recluse spider, apply ice to the bite site and take your child to the emergency room. Even if a child doesn't show any symptoms, get medical attention right away.
Most spiders found in the United States are harmless, with the exception of the black widow and the brown recluse spider. The brown recluse spider — a tiny oval brown spider with a small shape like a violin on its back — is found mostly in Midwestern and Southern parts of the United States. The bites usually don't hurt at first, and a child might not even be aware of the bite, but in some cases they cause swelling and changes in skin color and a blister.
The black widow spider, which is found all over North America, has a shiny black body and an orange hourglass shape on its underbelly. The venom (poison) in a black widow bite can cause painful cramps that show up within a few hours of the bite. The cramps can start in the muscles around the bite and then spread. The bite may also lead to nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, and muscle aches. If your child has any of these symptoms — or you know that he or she has been bitten — go to the emergency room right away. In the southwest United States, an unidentified bite may be caused by a scorpion. Take your child to the emergency room immediately.
Tick Bites: Check kids and pets for ticks carefully after you've been in or around a wooded area. Common types of ticks include dog ticks and deer ticks (deer ticks may be carriers of Lyme disease).
If you find a tick on your child:
Call your doctor, who may want you to save the tick in a sealed container or zip-locked bag for identification later. Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin. Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go (do not twist or jerk the tick), then swab the bite site with alcohol. Don't use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don't get the tick off your skin, and they may just cause the insect to burrow deeper and release more saliva (which increases the chances of disease transmission).
Herbal Treatment Options:
Fendler Bladderpod: The Navajos made a tea and used it to treat spider bites.
- Purple Coneflower: The Plains Indians used this as a universal application for the bites and stings of all crawling, flying, or leaping bugs. Between June and September, the bristly stemmed plant, which grows in dry, open woods and on prairies, bears a striking purplish flower.
- Stiff Goldenrod: The Meskwaki Indians of Minnesota ground the flowers into a lotion and applied it to bee stings.
- Trumpet Honeysuckle: The leaves were ground by chewing and then applied to bees stings.
- Wild Onion and Garlic: The Dakotas and Winnebagos applied the crushed bulbs of wild onions and garlics.
- Saltbush: The Navajos chewed the stems and placed the pulpy mash on areas of swelling caused by ant, bee and wasp bites. The Zunis applied the dried, powdered roots and flowers mixed with saliva to ant bites.
- Broom Snakeweed: The Navajos chewed the stem and applied the resin to insect bites and stings of all kinds.
- Tobacco: A favorite remedy for bee stings was the application of wet tobacco leaves.
- Mullein: A poultice of the wet puffy mullein seed pods was used by many nations.
Effective bed bugs treatment at home relies on a combination of methods to kill and control these pesky pests. You can carry out some simple procedures yourself as soon as you observe signs of infestation in early stages. But, you will have to take help of professional bed bug extermination services in case of severe infestation.
Here are a few tips to help you with bed bugs treatment.
Bed bugs usually hide around windows, door frames, behind picture frames, curtain rods, inside cabinets, underneath chairs and areas close to your bed. So, it is essential to inspect these areas thoroughly. Plus, dismantle the bed and look closely into the finer spaces to find these parasitic insects. Next, vacuum clean these areas.
Garments and bed sheets can be washed thoroughly in extremely hot water and subjected to medium to high heat in dryer for 15-20 minutes. Dry cleaning is also beneficial.
Bed bug traps and sprays containing Pyrethrins, Permethrin, Cyfluthrin, etc are beneficial in controlling bed bugs to some extent.
Bed bug bites can be avoided by making use of bed bug repellents like tea tree oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil and so on.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.