Bugs are a part of warmer weather. While some bugs do stick around during the colder months, they become much more common in spring and summer. Bugs like mosquitos, ticks, and spiders are common to come across. We’ll take a look at these common bug bites and how to treat them in addition to ways to avoid bites in the first place.
Common bug bites and how to treat them
Mosquito bites are common and rarely cause allergic reactions. They are annoying especially when you discover a lot of them. Mosquito bites look like round pink or red bumps that itch a lot. To treat a mosquito bite, start by washing the area with soap and water. Then apply some calamine lotion or anti-itch cream to stop the itching. Using an ice pack can also help. Since mosquitos carry diseases like malaria it’s important to seek care if symptoms like headaches, fever, rash, or vomiting show after being bitten.
Tick bites are less like other bug bites since ticks attach themselves to the person or animal. It’s hard to feel when a tick bites. There may be some redness since tick saliva is a skin irritant. Ticks favor tall grasses and woodsy areas. The best way to ensure you haven’t been bitten is to check for them after spending time in these places. Check yourself and your kid’s skin and hair—especially the scalp, neck, behind the knees, and armpits.
If you find a tick do not cover it with petroleum jelly, fingernail polish, or anything else. This can cause the tick to burrow deeper and be harder to remove. Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible then pull to remove it. Do not twist or yank. If part of the tick does stay in the skin, don’t worry it will come out. Seek care if you notice redness, swelling pain, or pus.
Bedbug bites look like small red bumps like mosquito bites but can be seen in line-like patterns. To know if it’s bedbugs, look at the bed sheets and mattress for spots of blood, other small rust-colored spots, or black spots. You may even see live bugs in mattress tags and box springs. In the case of a bite, wash the area with soap and water before applying calamine lotion or anti-itch cream. Scratching the area can cause skin infections so it’s important to avoid scratching and treat the itch.
Contrary to popular belief spiders do not bite often. And most spider venom does not harm humans since it’s not strong enough. This is why many spider bites go unnoticed or are assumed to be another bug bite. These bites can be treated similarly to mosquito bites. Wash the area with soap and water and apply anti-itching cream if needed. However, there are common spiders like the brown recluse and black widow whose bites can be incredibly dangerous.
If you notice symptoms like swelling and pain around the bite, joint stiffness, rash, vomiting, shortness of breath, fever, chills, or muscle cramps, seek immediate medical attention. Educate your children about what these spiders look like and to avoid them.
How to prevent bites
- Use insect repellent with 10-30% DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, or picaridin. See product directions for age requirements.
- Mosquitos lay eggs in water. Remove standing water in places like buckets and bird baths regularly.
- Bedbugs are common in places with a high turnover like hotels and hospitals. Check the area, place your baggage off the ground on a rack or table, and place clothes immediately in the washer upon returning home. Also, put clothing that isn’t being worn in a plastic bag if you’re unable to place them into a washing machine immediately.
- Bedbugs can hide in clutter. Even though bedbugs are not associated with a dirty or unkept home, clutter provides a place for them to hide. Remove clutter to help eliminate bedbugs.
- Take hot showers after spending a lot of time outside in potentially high bug activity areas like the woods and tall grasses.
- Teach children what dangerous spiders look like.
- Encourage children to wear long-sleeved clothing when playing in attics and garages as well as in outdoor woodsy areas or places with tall grasses.
- When out in wooded areas, stick to the paths/ trails.
- Be sure to check for ticks since bites are not often felt.
- Wear gloves while gardening.
- Do not store firewood indoors.
- Spiders like to be in undisturbed places like wood piles, storage containers that aren’t opened frequently, in corners, and behind furniture. Proceed with caution.
To Wrap Up
Common bug bites are often more of an annoyance than a cause for concern. However, itching these bites can cause skin infections, turning a minor annoyance into a major issue. Calamine lotion and anti-itch creams are crucial in kids who are prone to scratching. If going into areas with lots of bugs, be protected with sprays and clothing that covers the arms and legs. While rare, adverse reactions to bug bites should be tended to quickly so seek medical attention if you notice concerning symptoms. Enjoy the outdoors stress-free knowing about common bug bites and how to treat them. And keep helpful products on hand to make the most out of the warmer months.