Mosquitoes usually bite people and animals to suck blood.

Best care for bug bites: Doctors share tips for treating minor and severe bites

newYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Spending time outdoors can sometimes mean you have to deal with insects and their biting hobbies, including mosquitoes, horseflies, ticks, ants or spiders.

Of course, repellents exist. But they’re not foolproof, and not everyone has them all the time.

Most bites are harmless.

However, special care is sometimes required if the body does not respond well to bug bites.

How to Avoid Bug Bites

If you’re dealing with a minor or severe bug bite, here’s what the experts say to know and do.

Most bug bites can be treated at home

Most mosquito bites can be treated at home without the attention of a medical professional, Dr. Brian Mangum, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiologist at the University of Antigua Health Sciences, told Fox News Digital.

Mosquitoes usually bite people and animals to suck blood.
(iStock)

“Typically, minor bug bites cause itching, swelling, and tingling that subside and disappear after a few days,” says Mangum.

Bug bites cause allergies?How to Avoid Dangerous Tick Bites

These symptoms can also follow stings — and the bites of certain bugs, such as bumblebees, fire ants and bees, can cause allergic reactions, especially in those susceptible to anaphylaxis, he said.

Here’s how to treat minor bug bites

It’s important to wash insect bites with soap and water, Mangum says.

In the case of a bite, the bug’s stinger should be removed from the site before washing, he said.

After sanitizing mosquito bites, Mangum said he recommends placing ice cubes, a cold damp cloth or a cold water bottle on the inflamed skin for about 20 minutes to reduce swelling and pain.

Bugs can bite almost any surface of the skin.

Bugs can bite almost any surface of the skin.
(Getty Images)

“You can also use calamine lotion, a paste made of baking soda and water, or 1% hydrocortisone cream, which is available over the counter at drugstores,” says Mangum.

“These will also help reduce swelling.”

Ohio man goes to ER for cancer diagnosis after bug bite

If itching and irritation persists around the bite site, Mangum says antihistamines in the form of benadryl (diphenhydramine) and over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can usually be taken.

“Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions,” he warned.

When taking any medication, it is best to consult your doctor first.

When to contact a severe bug bite

In rare cases, a bug bite may require medical attention, medical professionals say.

Usually, this is for anaphylaxis — a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, and dizziness.

If you

One doctor said you should not hesitate to call 911 if you have “difficulty breathing, swelling of your face including your lips, eyelids and throat, or if you feel dizzy or pass out.”
(iStock)

Mangum told Fox News Digital: “If you have trouble breathing, if your face is swollen, including your lips, eyelids and throat, or if you feel dizzy or passed out, you should not hesitate to call 911.”

“Hives, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also warning signs of a serious reaction,” he said.

If an allergic reaction is suspected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends evaluation of the airway, breathing, and circulation.

CDC: How to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction

    Respiratory system: feeling of throat closing, shortness of breath, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing

    Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

    Cardiovascular: Dizziness, fainting, abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia), and abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension)

    Skin and mucous membranes: hives, itching, swelling of lips, face, and/or throat

    Nervous system: agitation, convulsions, dramatic changes in mental state, and a sense of impending doom

The agency also said people with allergy symptoms should be in a supine position — meaning they are lying horizontally with their head and torso up.

People should try to avoid scratching bug bites; scratching can lead to further irritation or infection, doctors say.

People should try to avoid scratching bug bites; scratching can lead to further irritation or infection, doctors say.
(iStock)

“Those who have a history of allergic reactions to bug bites, called anaphylaxis, should talk to their doctor about carrying a syringe of epinephrine, which can be given quickly in an emergency and can be life-saving,” Mangum said.

Avoid home remedies; watch for infections

While most mosquito bites and bites can be treated at home with over-the-counter creams and medications, DIY home remedies should be avoided, said Iza Correll, physician assistant and founder and CEO of zero-cost hospital OVI Healthcare. She is in Kenya.

Click here for the Fox News app

“Don’t use any home remedies or treatments not recommended by your doctor,” Corell told Fox News Digital.

“This topic is familiar to me because our children’s hospital is located in the Kenyan town of Suna Migori, and its name translates directly to: ‘Here, the mosquitoes make you fight,'” Correll said. “It really lives up to its name.”

She added that it’s important not to “excessively” scratch the bug bite, as this can lead to infection.

A person should contact a healthcare provider if symptoms worsen or if they have questions or concerns.

“Seeing a doctor is critical if the bite is not healing properly or becomes infected,” warns Corell. “Signs that the infection may be worsening include fever, swelling, redness or discharge from the wound.”

Regarding the symptoms of mosquito bites, the CDC notes that these groups of people may experience more severe reactions: children; adults who have been bitten by mosquitoes they have not been exposed to before; and people with immune system disorders.

Click here to sign up for our lifestyle newsletter

It also said that people who experience a more severe reaction may have the following signs: extensive swelling and redness; low-grade fever; measles; and swollen lymph nodes.

A person should contact a healthcare provider if symptoms worsen or if they have questions or concerns.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.