Summertime and Bugs
It is that time of year when we are outside in the beautiful New Mexico weather. With that comes more contact with bugs! How do you know if you have been bitten by something dangerous? Don’t panic. Most bug bites and stings from common insects are harmless and heal quickly. But some like fire ants, wasps, hornets, and bees, may cause intense pain or even a serious allergic reaction. Others, like poisonous spider bites, require immediate emergency medical care.
Some bug bites can provide clues as to what bit you:
- Bedbugs leave a small bite mark on the skin that is red and itchy or causes a serious allergic reaction.
- Ticks can carry Lyme disease and their bite leaves a rash that looks like an expanding bull’s-eye.
- Bee stings cause a red skin bump with white around it.
- Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care. (See paragraph below.)
- Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs.
- Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction.
If redness or swelling persists for more than 72 hours, or if a fever develops, it may mean an infection. Anaphylaxis, a severe, life threatening allergic reaction, can occur with some bites. Signs of anaphylaxis typically occur within seconds to minutes of exposure and include sneezing, wheezing, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden anxiety, dizziness, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, chest tightness, and itching or swelling of the eyes, lips, or other areas of the face. This is an emergency!! Call 9-1-1 immediately!
Here are some tips to prevent bug bites:
- Avoid insects.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Don’t eat foods or wear fragrances that attract bugs.
- Know your own personal risk for having an allergic reaction to a bug bite.
- Use pesticide.
If you are unsure what bit you and think it may need medical attention come see us at Rio Grande Urgent Care.