We all have been there, a wonderful evening spent at the park with friends and family, or on a day hike, only to realize a few hours later that our legs are covered with painful bug bites. For the most part, insect and spider bites are no more than a nuisance, and aside from being itchy and swollen there is not much to worry about, but in some cases, a bug bite can be far more serious and needs treatment. At Our Urgent Care we want you to enjoy every moment of your summer, and as such want to arm you with the knowledge needed to prevent, treat, and diagnose bug bites.
The best way to avoid insect and spider bites is to follow these easy steps:
- Any time that you are in a wooded area where there are spiders or insects, be sure to wear repellent and clothing that covers your extremities and additionally tuck your pants into your socks for extra protection.
- Be sure to remove all standing water from your yard.
- If you are doing yard work, wear gloves and avoid sandals especially in areas where insects and spiders are prominent, such as near piles of wood.
- Perfumed lotions, aftershave, or scented hair products can attract insects, so avoid these products when spending time outdoors in the warm months.
- However, If you encounter insects or spiders, remain calm and avoid swatting or flailing. Instead, retreat slowly if insects are agitated and threatening.
Insect Bite Treatment
If you are stung by an insect or spider and your reaction is not severe, meaning there are no signs of a severe allergic reaction, illness or an infection, in most cases, you can treat the bite at home and do not need to seek medical attention. Treat the area by washing the bite or sting with soap and warm water and applying a cold compress or ice pack for 20 minutes for the first six hours to reduce swelling. To ease the pain, you can take NSAIDs, like aspirin or Tylenol. Additionally, an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl or a topical cream applied directly to the sting, can help relieve mild symptoms.
Severe Symptoms that Require Treatment:
- Trouble breathing
- The feeling that your throat is closing
- Swollen lips, tongue or face
- Chest pain
- A racing heartbeat that lasts more than a few minutes
- A headache
- A red, donut-shaped or target-shaped rash (this might be a sign of Lyme disease from a tick bite, which must be treated with antibiotics)
- A fever with a spotted black or red rash that spreads (this could be a sign of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a bacterial infection carried by ticks, which should be treated immediately)
If you are bitten by an insect or spider and experience any of the above symptoms it is important to seek medical attention. If the onset of the symptoms is immediate, please call 911. In less severe cases, the doctors and staff at Our Urgent Care can administer treatment for mild irritation and diagnosis.