Insect and spider bites are often no more than a nuisance, but occasionally they can cause dangerous symptoms and complications, especially if you have an allergic reaction or contract a disease from the bite. Throughout summer, more time spent outdoors means a greater risk of insect and spider bites, but you can stay safe from bug bites at barbecues, picnics, or sporting events by knowing how to prevent, diagnose, and treat bites. If you experience any of the symptoms of allergic reaction or illness outlined below, you should seek immediate professional medical treatment at your nearest urgent care. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Signs of anaphylaxis typically occur within seconds to minutes of exposure and include sneezing, wheezing, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden anxiety, dizziness, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, chest tightness, and itching or swelling of the eyes, lips, or other areas of the face. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that warrants calling immediately. If you or your child has had an allergic reaction to a sting or bite, you should be evaluated by an allergist. You may be advised to wear an allergy identification tag or to carry epinephrine, a medication used to treat allergic reactions in emergencies.
Back to Insect bites and stings. It can be difficult to identify what you were bitten or stung by if you did not see it happen. This is a minor allergic reaction that is not usually anything to worry about. Dial for an ambulance immediately if you have these symptoms. The sting can cause pain, redness and swelling for a few hours. These are usually very itchy. Some people may also develop fluid-filled blisters. Mosquitoes don’t cause major harm in the UK, but in some parts of the world they can spread serious illnesses such as malaria. A bite from a horsefly can be very painful and the bitten area of skin will usually be red and raised.
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Insect bites and stings are common and usually only cause minor irritation. However, some stings can be painful and trigger a serious allergic reaction. In the UK, insects that bite include midges, mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs and, although not strictly insects, spiders, mites and ticks, which are arachnids. Insects that sting include bees, wasps and hornets. An insect bites you by making a hole in your skin to feed. Most insects sting as a defence by injecting venom into your skin. When an insect bites, it releases saliva that can cause the skin around the bite to become red, swollen and itchy.