It’s annoying enough when we get bit by bugs, right? We clean it, then treat it, and it still won’t go away. We expect to feel symptoms subside within a few days to a week after noticing a bite, but what happens if the symptoms linger?
A bug bite that we just can’t shake could mean something more is at play. Understanding the risks and what they mean is critical. So today, we want to go over these symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore and what to do once you realize what you’re suffering from.
Why Bug Bites Bug Us So Much
We may not know everything, even though our kids ask us why about everything, but we do know one thing: bug bites really bug us.
But do you know why they bug so much? It’s the proteins in their saliva. When bugs bite people or animals, they inject their saliva while sucking the blood. This saliva numbs our skin so that the bug has a greater chance of flying away unscathed.
Humans are allergic to the protein in the saliva. While it may not be a severe allergic reaction (at least not every time), our bodies react to the foreign antigens with itching sensations, pain, and irritation.
These symptoms should go away within a week. However, for those that have a more severe reaction, it could take longer.
For standard reactions, expect a few different symptoms. The most common are:
- Red blisters or welts at the bite site
- Intense itching, pain, or soreness
- Mild swelling around the affected area
A few carry more intense reactions. These are:
- Brown recluse spiders: white blisters around the bite, with a red ring or a bullseye that grows larger as time progresses. The pain starts off mild and becomes more intense as the days wear on.
- Black widow spider: flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills usually accompany intense pain around the bite. A round scab will also take shape around the bite rather quickly.
- Chiggers: these tiny creatures leave a red raised rash on the skin that grows more intense as the days go by and the itching and irritation.
When the Reactions Won’t Fade
While some of these reactions last longer than others, symptoms shouldn’t last longer than seven to ten days.
When they do, it could be the signs of something worse.
What Are Allergic Responses to Bug Bites or Stings?
The reactions to bug bites are our body's response to the saliva, proteins, or venom in a bite or sting.
There are a few of us out there that have more intense allergic responses to these substances. Many times it is kids, as their bodies aren’t as used to these foreign agents. However, adults can be hyper-sensitive to these bites too.
It is quite common to be allergic to bees, hornets, and wasp stings. The venom in their stinger can cause anaphylaxis, hives, or more intense pain. Severe allergic reactions may require medical attention.
If you are allergic to bug bites or stings (or are extremely sensitive to them), caution is worth a pound of cure.
Disease and Viruses
Another big issue and risk factor with some of these bugs is disease or illness. Not all bugs put you at risk for deadly or serious viruses. But, bugs like mosquitoes, ticks, and a few varieties of flies can transmit viruses like Zika, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and others.
Thankfully, the cases and occurrences of these diseases are still low, and medical professionals are ready to fight them when they happen. The most important thing is to get ahead of the issue. If you have come into contact with a few types of bugs while hiking or enjoying the outdoors, monitor any bites you have.
Make sure to do your best to identify the bite and what type of bug it came from, and then watch it for a few days. Should flu-like symptoms or intense pain get worse over a week, there might be something wrong that needs medical help.
Many times, people think that a bug bite is worse than it was due to the seemingly inescapable itchiness. Even if the itchy bite site might really be begging for you to scratch it, don't — scratching can worsen the symptoms and your body’s reaction.
Scratching those bites may seem harmless, but this action can break the skin and can cause further complications. Scratching can cause a bacterial infection like cellulitis. Skin infections are very common once the skin has been damaged. Plus, you might have abrasions left behind.
It might seem worth it at the moment, but scratching those annoying red bumps is never the answer. Instead, reach for a cold compress or make an ice pack. The cold will numb the affected area and relieve the urge to scratch.
Treating Bug Bites: What You Need To Know
Having plans in place for home remedies to feel better faster is crucial to keeping your life going on a normal routine. Excessive swelling in one of your extremities can impede movement and daily activities, so be ready.
Time may heal all wounds, but if you find yourself dealing with a stubborn bite, you’ll need more than time to get rid of it.
First, call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience trouble breathing, excessive swelling, or anything detrimental to your health.
While many spider bites, mosquito bites, and other bugs are harmless, they could mean something more. Don’t wait: act fast to make sure that you’re ahead of the problem before it gets severe.
OTC Medications That Soothe Itchy Bug Bites
If you experience severe reactions that aren’t life-threatening but uncomfortable, your doctor may prescribe certain antihistamine medications. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl can be used for a day or two to relieve the annoying symptoms. If it is less itchy and more painful, your doctor may recommend Ibuprofen or a similar medicine to help reduce pain and swelling.
You don't have to wait for your doctor to give you the okay to take these medicines. These are over-the-counter (OTC) items that you can buy at most local pharmacies or convenience stores.
At the first sign of pain and swelling, you can start taking your favorite remedy. However, if symptoms persist and these medicines don’t provide relief, your doctor may have a different route to take.
Patches, Not Scratches
Hydrocortisone cream and antihistamine lotion are greasy, messy, and don’t last very long. You have to reapply constantly to get any relief, and many of these creams can quickly be wiped accidentally (or intentionally by kids who hate the sticky sensation).
Instead, try our MagicPatch. Its unique grid technology was formulated by scientists to ensure quick relief that lasts for the long haul.
Each patch can be applied directly to the site of the bite and lasts for up to seven days. The patches are entirely waterproof as well, so water sports, baths, and outdoor play aren’t a problem for these mighty patches.
Bugs don’t stand a chance.
If you start to notice that you and your family are getting bit quite often and you haven’t been on vacation recently, you may have an infestation around your property.
Infestations can cause trouble for you and your family, so make sure your home and yard are cleared of the tell-tale signs that bugs look for when choosing somewhere to lay eggs, and then call pest control. They will be able to clear out spider webs and dens and eliminate any areas that are cause for concern.
Why You Should Say No to Deet
DEET and Picaridin seem like they are everywhere: These products may be legal to buy, but the sprays and chemicals are harmful. DEET has been known to melt plastic, and that’s not exactly something we want to slather onto our precious babies.
Instead, opt for our natural remedies that keep you safe — in more ways than one.
Listen to Your Instincts
Being a parent doesn’t come with instructions, so we have to listen to our gut when it tells us something.
Even if we feel that we may have overreacted, it’s better than leaving something serious untreated. If you ever feel uncomfortable with any side effects or symptoms from an insect bite, call your local dermatology or medical office.
You can sleep better at night knowing you’ve done everything you can to ensure your family’s safety and health for years to come.