×
5 Common Bug Bites and How to Recognise Them

5 Common Bug Bites and How to Recognise Them

These common bug bites can cause some deadly diseases and a lot of pain & discomfort. As always, prevention is better than cure.

We live in an ecosystem that is home to all kinds of species including nasty ones like bugs. Usually, they are harmless and can be dealt with by swatting them away or by removing ourselves from that particular environment. But there are some bugs whose bites, if left unchecked, can cause serious health issues later on.

iStock
iStock

Of course, it seems like all bug bites look the same but in fact, each bug bite leaves a distinct pattern on the skin. To treat them, if it's just a minor bite, a first aid kit can do the job.  However, prevention is better than cure, so here are the five most common bugs bites that plague us.

1. Fleas

If you have pets in your household, then you know how pesky and dangerous fleas are especially when they decide to reside in the undiscovered territory of your pet's fur. Fleas are tiny bugs with thin, flat bodies and hard outer shells. Sadly enough, they don't just like feasting on animal flesh, they do it to humans too even if you don't have a pet. According to Healthline, fleas prefer tall grass and shaded areas near decks, woodpiles, or storage buildings. So if you have a yard as well, it may have fleas in them.

When they bite, you will see small, red bumps with a halo-like ring around the bites. These bites come in groups of three or four and in a straight line. They can cover your back, waist, armpits, breasts, groin, ankles or the folds of the elbows and knees. The bites are very itchy, and the skin around each bite may become sore or painful. In addition to that, scratching at those bites can scar your skin and cause a secondary bacterial infection to develop. As a DIY treatment, you can purchase anti-itch creams and antihistamine medications. However, if you start to notice signs of infection, consult a doctor right away.

2. Mosquitoes

Mosquitos are a big nuisance and they can be deadly too. When they bite, they have the ability to spread diseases by transferring infections to your bloodstream while they suck the blood out of you. Sometimes, if you're lucky enough, their bite will just cause a bump, itchy skin or a red pimple at the bite site but otherwise, they are the carriers of diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile, Zika, and yellow fever, all of which are deadly. Anything that can feed on blood has the ability to spread illnesses, according to Health.com, and "mosquitoes are your prime example. Most are a nuisance and some are more than that,” says Rosmarie Kelly, Ph.D., a public health entomologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta.

iStock
iStock

Mosquitoes breed in grass and bushes located close to areas of human habitation. Stagnant water is their most common breeding ground. Areas like neglected birdbaths, clogged rain gutters, storm drains, pools, ponds, and other bodies of water that are standing are their favorite habitats. It generally isn't the male mosquito that bites, according to Healthline. The female mosquito requires blood in her diet to be able to reproduce so they are the main disease carriers. When she bites, she leaves slightly large raised welts at the bite site. To treat the bite, avoid scratching it and place some ice as it will provide relief from the scratching. If you experience nausea and vomiting after the bite though, consult a doctor immediately.

3. Ticks

Another blood-sucking parasite is the tick. It latches on to both human and animal skin and like a mosquito, can spread deadly diseases. Since the bites aren't very painful initially, you may not even notice their presence. The appearance of a tick bite can include a small red lump on the skin, swelling, itchiness, blistering or a bruising pattern. In the US, ticks are responsible for passing Lyme disease, West Nile, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia to humans, says Health.com. Generally, the first symptoms after a tick bite appear similar to flu symptoms. “All tick diseases have classic flu-like symptoms and some have a rash,” says Kelly. “We tell people if they have a tick attached to themselves, they need to go to their doctor if they have flu-like symptoms within three weeks during tick season.” You can use simple antibiotics to counter the effects of the bite but it is essential to get it diagnosed correctly first.

4. Bed bugs

That rash you get after getting up from your bed is most likely caused by some very pesky bed bugs. Though they don't spread diseases, their bites can be annoying. They can be found in places like your mattresses, in box springs, the bed frame, the headboards, in objects or clutter near beds and even under peeling paint and loose wallpaper, carpeting near baseboards, upholstered furniture seams and light switch plates or electrical outlets. They can't fly on their own and so they rely on humans to get them from place to place. Bed bug bites cause swelling with a dark red center, are found in a line or grouped together in a small area, according to Everyday Health. You could even have blister or hives at the bite site and they occur on parts of the body that have skin exposed during sleep like the face, arms, legs, and hands. These bites are generally not dangerous and go away after some time but it's important to avoid scratching.

5. Lice

Lice are parasites that infest sites where hair grows and feed on human blood. They can be seen on your head, your body and even on your pubic hair. Though they don't cause diseases, their bites are painful and can cause red lumps where they bite. The most common is head lice and they bite various places on your scalp. Their bites can cause itchiness on the scalp, ears and neck especially after they lay their eggs, called nits. Though it may look like dandruff flaking off your head, it's better to get it checked for lice. “Itching on your head is a pretty good sign that you have head lice,” says Kelly. “They don’t carry disease, but they’re a huge nuisance.” The lice can transfer from one head to another and is most prevalent amongst children since they literally have their heads together.

iStock
iStock

You can even get lice if you've shared a hat with someone. To get rid of it, there are medications, and you should comb your hair before and after you start the medication. It's essential that you wash all clothes and bedding in hot water (over 130 degrees) that may have lice on them and use a hot dryer cycle. The CDC recommends that things that cannot be washed should be sealed in plastic bags for two weeks.

However, these are not the only bugs who bite. Other bugs like spiders, mites, chiggers, bees, wasps and a variety of flies have bites that can result in some serious consequences.m Take the time to look at how to identify those bites and take preventive measures or treatments.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/flea-bites#other-sources-of-fleas

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/22ce/902a4fe5423515bead523b236005a4e62f48.pdf

https://www.health.com/skin-conditions/insect-bites?slide=517862#517862

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insect-bites-and-stings/symptoms/

https://www.health.com/skin-conditions/insect-bites?slide=517865#517865

https://www.healthline.com/health/bed-bug-bites#bedbug-bites

https://www.everydayhealth.com/bed-bugs/what-bed-bug-bites-look-like/

https://www.orkin.com/other/bed-bugs/bedbug-bites/

Recommended for you