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Bug bites are irritating, and some can even be dangerous. Bug bites occur regularly for most people, though some are more common than others, particularly throughout the United States. If you’re looking for a simple, helpful guide for identifying bug bites, then you’ve come to the right place. The following highlights some of the most common types of bug bites, what you should do about them, and when to consult a medical professional for treatment.
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Mosquitoes are some of the most common biting insects in the U.S. Practically every individual experiences one or more mosquito bites; Floridians are particularly prone to them, as the state is known for mosquitoes. A mosquito bite generally appears as a small, itchy, and round red or pink skin bump. In addition, it can be puffy with a red dot in the middle. Some mosquito bites may cause only small bumps, while irritated bites can grow larger. Signs of a mosquito bite generally appear on the skin shortly after you’re bitten, and you will likely experience itchiness in the area and even a burning sensation.
If you spend time in a mosquito-rich area, such as a space close to stagnant water, you may notice multiple bites on various parts of your body or wherever your skin was exposed. Though mosquitoes are not considered to be venomous, there are cases in which they can be dangerous both to pets and people, as mosquitoes are known to spread diseases through their bites, including Zika and malaria. Mosquito bites typically dissipate without treatment, though anti-itch topical ointments may help reduce discomfort. However, if you become ill following a mosquito bite, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
If you wake up and find small, red bumps or welts on your skin, then you might have an infestation of bed bugs. Bed bugs are a common pest throughout the U.S., particularly in Florida, that can infest thousands of homes. These parasites feed on the blood of humans and can be incredibly difficult to get rid of. The signs of a bed bug bite can vary from person to person. In some people, these pests can leave no trace at all on the skin, while in other cases, bed bug bites can cause itchy, red bumps in clusters, lines, or zig-zags on the skin. These bites may appear as small, flat, and red, or they may cause swollen welts to appear. In certain cases, they may even blister.
Bed bugs can bite any part of the body exposed during slumber. You might be able to identify bed bugs by observing your bed sheets for small spots on blood. Bed bugs are fortunately not harmful to health. They are related to ticks and spiders, but they are not venomous, nor do they carry disease. Treatment for bed bug bites goes hand-in-hand with bed bug removal. Along with using an over-the-counter cream or ointment for itching or rashes, you should contact a professional pest control company to avoid being bitten in the future.
Florida is home to a wide variety of different ants. While many ants do not bite, such as common black ants, pavement ants, and sugar ants, other ants, including fire ants, do. Ant bites are typically found on the lower body, such as the feet and legs, often in clusters. Ant bites are usually noticeable as soon as the bites occur and are generally easy to identify. These bites can range in pain from a tiny pinprick to severe burning pain. Depending on the ant species, their bite can cause reactions ranging from mild itching and swelling to severe allergic reactions.
Most individuals become bitten by ants when they stumble onto an anthill or ant pile, later noticing a cluster of red, painful, and sometimes itchy bumps where the ants bit them. Most ants are not considered dangerous or poisonous, though allergic reactions to ant bites may require medical attention. In most cases, ant bites do not require treatment and dissipate in a matter of days or weeks following the bite. To ease discomfort, pain, and itchiness, you might use an over-the-counter anesthetic cream to help soothe skin following bug bites.
Most spider bites are nothing to be concerned about, causing only minor symptoms, such as redness, swelling, and mild pain on the skin. Certain spider bites, however, are true emergencies. If a spider has bitten you and you develop tightness in your chest, breathing difficulties, swallowing difficulties, or swelling of your face, you need immediate medical care. A bite from a poisonous spider, such as a black widow spider or a brown recluse spider, is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal. A bite from a black widow spider typically appears as two puncture marks, which may or may not cause pain at first but will likely become painful 30–40 minutes after the bite. Within 8 hours after a bite from a poisonous spider, you may experience muscle pain, muscle rigidity, stomach and back pain, nausea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.
Another poisonous spider, the brown recluse, is poisonous and usually lives in dark, unused spaces. Some people feel a sharp sting when bitten, while others don’t notice the bite until hours later. The bite may become more painful and appear bruised or blisters with a blue-purple area around it 4–8 hours after the bite. Following this, the bite may become crusty and turn dark. Symptoms from a brown recluse spider bite usually occur within a few hours of the bite and may include fever, child, itching, nausea, and constant sweating. Some brown recluse spider bites may have serious reactions that lead to kidney failure, seizures, and coma; if you believe a poisonous spider has bitten you, get medical care at once!
Though small, ticks can be some of the most harmful parasitic pests in the nation, often found throughout Florida. Ticks carry and spread several diseases, and they feed on both human and animal hosts. The first time you notice a dime-sized red spot, it can appear as another type of pest bite. A tick bite may have a black dot in the middle. In some cases, a hardened bump appears underneath the punctured skin. Ticks are usually found in vegetation and brush. When they attach to humans, they tend to favor warm, covered areas of the body, including skin folds, the scalp, and the groin. Tick bites can go unnoticed unless the insect is still attached to or burrowed within the skin. If the tick falls off the skin cleanly, the bite should heal without issue. However, a tick remaining on or in the skin that is not carefully removed can cause infections. Some ticks can transfer serious illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.
If your rash is red and circular and expands or spreads, seek immediate medical attention. Tick bites are known for the rash they leave behind on some individuals, which appears as a bull’s eye. The rash may be accompanied by fever, chills, fatigue, headache, aching muscles, and swollen lymph nodes, all of which are Lyme disease symptoms. If not treated, this tick bite can cause Lyme disease, damaging your joints, heart, muscles, and nervous system in the process. Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms can include a rash on the ankles and wrists that spreads to other areas of the body, fevers lasting multiple days, headaches, and muscle aches. Caused by the bite of an infected tick, this potentially fatal bite may be treated with prompt medical care.
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