Ugh. When you have been bitten by an insect, itching and scratching are at the top of your to-do list. You may not be in the mood to explore bug bite identification. But knowing what bit you can help you decide if reaching for calamine lotion or calling your local physician is the best option.
When to See A Doctor for a Bug Bite
For most people, a bug bite is a mild inconvenience. Some itching, scratching, swelling, and redness around the bite area are the most serious symptoms. However, for others, getting bitten by an insect can have more serious consequences. Reactions to bug bites can range from mildly annoying to life-threatening. If you have a bug bite allergy, you are probably already aware of the reaction a bug bite can cause. However, if you are one of the many people who don’t know they have an allergy, then the information below can help you avoid some serious problems.
What Insects Cause Serious Allergic Reactions?
While anyone could be allergic to any insect’s bite, the most common bug bite allergies are caused by mosquitoes, fleas, kissing bugs, bedbugs, bees, wasps, spiders, and certain flies. Technically, these are not all bugs. Some are insects. However, while there is a distinct difference between a bug and an insect, those who are suffering from bug bite allergy symptoms don’t care about the culprit’s scientific nomenclature.
If you have a bug bite allergy, you will develop symptoms every time you get bitten by a particular insect. Over time, the allergy symptoms can grow more severe with each exposure. And while you may experience bug bite allergy symptoms with every mosquito bite, a spider bite may not cause the same or any reaction at all. The reason for this is that each biter’s saliva and venom contain different compounds. These unique compounds can cause an allergic reaction in some people, or no reaction at all, which is why identifying the biter is so important.
How to Know if You Have a Bug Bite Allergy
When bitten by a mosquito or flea, it’s normal for the bite to be red and itchy for a while. Often, a cold compress and an antihistamine will bring some relief. However, if the bite grows hot, the swelling expands, the redness spreads, and the itching doesn’t subside, you’re likely experiencing bug bite allergy symptoms. More serious allergic reactions can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Hives or a red, itchy rash that spreads beyond the site of the bite
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling of the neck, lips, throat, or tongue
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness or a drop in blood pressure
- Stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting
The most concerning of these bug bite allergy symptoms are shortness of breath, facial swelling, and trouble swallowing. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to consult a physician for treatment.
What to Do if You Develop a Serious Allergic Reaction from Bug Bites?
While some people develop a bug bite allergy at a very young age, for many people, such allergies develop over time. If you experience any severe bug bite allergy symptoms, don’t waste time arguing that you have never been allergic before. Document your symptoms, and note when they emerged relative to the initial bite. Then get to an allergist to investigate.
Your allergist will conduct a thorough health history with particular attention to your past experience with bug bites. Then, a skin-prick test will be done, introducing a tiny amount of insect venom just below the skin to observe your body’s response. A raised, red spot forming within 15-20 minutes indicates an allergy. If this test is inconclusive, an additional test, similar but more advanced, will be done. A blood test may also be used to diagnose a bug bite allergy.
Treatment for a bug bite allergy may include antihistamines, epinephrine, or possibly corticosteroids. You might explore immunotherapy as a preventative measure.
Contact a Doctor Right Away, but Don’t Panic
If you have experienced a bug bite and develop symptoms of a bug bite allergy, seek medical attention. Your doctor can help you to control the symptoms and refer you to an allergist. The allergist will evaluate and diagnose the allergy and provide more targeted relief for future bites.
If you or a family member has a bug bite allergy, it’s important to take proactive steps to protect your home and property from biting pests.
How to Protect Against Bug Bites
If you or a family member has an insect allergy, knowing how to prevent bug bites can be a real lifesaver. Many products on the market can help keep bugs from biting, and professional insect control services are invaluable for minimizing the risk when outdoors. However, your first line of defense is good property maintenance. Indoors and out, keep your property clean and tidy, paying special attention to the habits of the insects you’re allergic to.
For instance, standing water is a boon for mating mosquitoes. Dry brush, leaf litter, and other debris provide excellent shelter for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. A local pest control expert will help you learn more about pest control, like how to prevent ticks in the yard and how to keep your premises clear of the pests that provoke your bug bite allergy.
Once you’ve cleared your home and property of insect habitats and food, you can initiate using additional protective methods like:
- Spraying insect repellent
- Lighting citronella candles and torches
- Avoiding perfumes and cologne
- Using bug zappers
- Planting insect-repelling plants
- Hiring professional mosquito control services
Bug-Proof Your Home with Mosquito Joe
Effective insect control depends upon a multi-pronged approach. Do all you can to make your home and property less inviting to the bloodsucking pests that feed on your family and pets. Take precautions to prevent getting bitten. But when you or someone you love suffers from bug bite allergy symptoms, you need to do more.
Mosquito Joe is your neighborhood pest control specialist. We are a proud member of the Neighborly community of home service specialists. All our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee. We provide services across the country, and we tailor our treatments to your specific needs.