Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings facts*
*Bug bites and stings facts medically edited by: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
- Although many bug bites are relatively
harmless, there are some that can lead to debilitating or deadly diseases
- Keep insects away by using structures
such as screens and netting; wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when
possible, and use insect repellents that contain DEET.
- Insect repellent should be applied
after sunscreen and the repellent should not contain more than 10% DEET; follow
the insect repellent label instructions, especially those instructions suggested
- You can remove a
bee sting by scraping
it in a side to side motion with a straight edge object like a credit card; if
you find a tick on yourself or your child, remove it with tweezers and cleanse
the area with antiseptic fluid or cream
- Itching and pain from bites and stings
can be treated with topical analgesics, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
- Medical attention is needed for bites
and stings that cause allergic reactions, especially anaphylaxis (for example,
wasp stings), or for symptoms of diseases that are transmitted by vectors
like mosquitoes or ticks or if the bite site becomes infected.
- References provided allow readers to
get more information about various bug bites and stings.
Bug bites and stings introduction
Warm weather makes it easier to spend more time outdoors, but it also brings out the bugs. Ticks are usually harmless. But a tick bite can lead to Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria are transmitted to people by the black-legged deer tick, which is about the size of a pinhead and usually lives on deer. Infected ticks can also cause other diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Another insect-borne illness, West Nile virus, is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and usually produces mild symptoms in healthy people. But the illness can be serious for older people and those with compromised immune systems.
Most reactions to bees and other stinging insects are mild, but severe allergic reactions can be deadly. An allergic reaction can occur even if a person has been stung before with no complications.
Here are tips for preventing and treating bites and stings.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2014
Viewers share their comments
Bug Bites and Stings - Experience
Question: Please describe your experience with bug bites and stings.
Bug Bites and Stings - Keeping Insects Away
Question: Please share tips for keeping insects away from you and your home.
Bug Bites and Stings - Removing a Bee Stinger
Question: If you've been stung by a bee, how did you or someone else remove the stinger? Please share your experience.
Bug Bites and Stings - Pain and Itch Relief
Question: Bug bites hurt and are itchy. What works for you in relieving the pain and itchiness?
Bug Bites and Stings - Tick Removal
Question: How do you prevent tick bites? If you've found a tick on someone, how did you remove it?