You don’t have to be an avid outdoorsman to know what it’s like to be bitten by a bug. With insects outnumbering humans by a ratio of 200 million to one (!!), chances are pretty high you’ve come across more than a few of these critters in your life. Most of us have also experienced bug bites or stings which, most of the time, are completely harmless. But depending on the type of bug or whether you have an allergy, some bites and stings require medical attention.
So, how do you know if you should be concerned? Here are some signs and scenarios in which a bug bite or sting may require medical attention:
- If there’s an allergic reaction caused by the bite or sting, see a doctor immediately. Signs of an allergic reaction include wheezing or difficulty breathing, tightness in throat or chest, swelling of the lips, tongue, or face, dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting.
- For bee or wasp stings in the mouth, seek immediate medical attention to avoid the possibility of severe swelling that would block the airways.
- Seek care if a large rash, swelling, or pain develops around the site, especially if they persist for more than 3 days, because there could be an infection.
- If you have any reason to suspect a bite by a black widow or brown recluse spider, apply ice to the bite site and go to the emergency room. A brown recluse spider bite usually doesn’t hurt at first, but may later cause swelling, changes in skin color, and a blister. A black widow spider bite can cause painful cramping, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, and muscle ache.
- If you find a tick on your skin, use tweezers to grasp it firmly at the part connected to your skin, pull gently until it detaches, then swab the area with alcohol. Try to save the tick in a plastic bag, and call your doctor to see if you should bring it in to be identified as either a dog tick or a deer tick, which can carry Lyme disease.
Have you ever had a bug bite that required medical care? Tell us about it below.
Sources: kidshealth.org and ucanr.edu