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5 Common Bug Bites

5 Common Bug Bites in Minnesota

Here in the land of 10,000 lakes we have our fair share of biting and stinging insects. Most of the time insect bites are relatively mild causing redness of the skin, minor swelling, and most likely itching. There are those that can cause more sever reactions depending on the individual. Those from a bee, wasp, hornet, or mosquito have a higher risk for a severe reaction. A cause for concern is in the potential disease stemming from certain insects.

Here is a short list of the five most common bug bites in our area and what to do in the event of a bite.

  1. Mosquito

Mosquito bites occur either at dusk or dawn when they are most active. Male mosquitos are harmless, it’s the females that want your blood. First, avoid scratching the areas where the bites are. If you are finding it hard not to itch the bites, try a hydrocortisone cream. A cold pack or back of ice may also help to reduce the urge to itch. Studies have shown that contact with a mosquito must be six seconds or longer to cause a reaction. Mosquito’s can also transmit serious diseases such as West Nile Virus, meningitis, yellow fever, malaria, and more. If you start to experience a fever, body aches, rash, nausea or vomiting you should seek medical attention.

  1. Fly/Wasp/Hornet/Bee

Wasps, bees, and hornets are all equipped with stingers as a form of self difference. There is a notable difference between the sting of a wasp vs a bee. A wasp’s stinger contains poisonous venom that’s transmitted to humans during a sting. A bee on the other hand can only sting once because it’s stinger becomes stuck in the skin of it’s victim. Since a wasp’s stinger stay’s intact it can sting multiple times, usually that is the case when a wasp finds it’s way under your clothing. The venom from a sting can cause significant pain and irritation. When stung wash the area with soap and water to remove as much as the venom as possible. Apply a cold pack if needed and keep the wound clean and dry to avoid infection. Severe allergic reactions are also known to come from the sting of wasps, or hornets, those suffering from this tend to carry Epi-Pens in the event of a sting.

  1. Flea

Legs and feet are the most common targeted area for flea bites. They can be extremely itchy, red, and swollen bumps may develop. Resist the urge to scratch the bites as this can lead to secondary infections. Wash the bites with antiseptic soap to help reduce the risk of infection. The use of a calamine lotion, anesthetic creams or something similar to treat the itching. See your doctor if any of the symptoms worsen, or if a secondary infection develops. This is usually indicated by puss discharging from the wound.

  1. Tick

If you spend much time at all camping in the US, you have most likely encountered your fair share of ticks as they are very common. Often tick bites are harmless. However, some tick bites can be severe. If you are allergic you may experience pain or swelling at the site of the bite, a rash, blisters, a burning sensation, or possibly difficulty breathing. There are some ticks that carry diseases which results in a wider variety of symptoms. These may include weakness, headache or nausea, fever or chills, or muscle and joint pain. Be sure to seek medical help if you experience any of these serious symptoms.

  1. Bed Bug

Most bed bug bites do not require any type of medical treatment. If you feel you are experiencing an allergic reaction talk with your doctor. The red spots that develop following a bite from a bed bug will usually disappear on their own within a week or two.