As the ice and snow thaw and the winter weather warms, most children and adults alike are itching to get outside. But before you step foot outdoors to enjoy that perfect spring weather, it’s important that you take precautions to avoid some of the pesky pests that come with warmer weather.
From the ants trying to hijack your picnic to those swarming mosquitoes you just can’t seem to escape, insects can put a damper on any outdoor activity. So just how do you avoid them and what do you do if one happens to bite? Here’s what you need to know, including when to seek treatment for bug bites.
Types of bug bites
Before you can begin taking precautions against bug bites, it’s important to know what to look out for. There are a number of insects that make their way out into the open as the weather starts.
As we head into the warm-weather months, it’s also important to be aware of the summer pests that you’ll be most likely to see in the months ahead.
Maybe the peskiest insect of all is the mosquito, who also happens to be one of the more dangerous — even deadly — insects you’ll see this spring. These buzzing bugs are notorious for carrying diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue and encephalitis.
If you get bit by a mosquito, the bite will appear as an itchy, red bump. The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to stay indoors during dawn and dusk and always apply insect repellent if you’re planning to be outside. Mosquitoes also tend to hang out around stagnant water, so be careful to stay away from any if you see it.
Another insect that can be dangerous to humans and animals alike is the tick. These pests are notorious for carrying Lyme disease — a bacterial infection that can spread to your joints, heart and nervous system if not treated early.
Protect yourself from tick bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts if you’re going to be outdoors for a long period of time. Bug spray is another great way to keep ticks at bay.
Bees and Wasps
You’ll most likely see these flying insects during the late summer months. Although they’re a danger to all children and adults, they can be especially dangerous to those who are allergic.
Whenever you’re outside, wear shoes and try to avoid sweet-smelling perfume that may attract the bugs.
Unfortunately, bed bugs can be a nuisance year-round. As their name suggests, these bugs hang out in beds and can become stowaways in your luggage as you return from vacation.
While bed bugs can’t transmit diseases, their bites can be annoying, often turning into itchy welts. If you find small, red bumps on your body, check your bed and nearby furniture to see if you can spot one of the tiny pests.
Typically, you’ll see ants anywhere you’ve got food. There are a number of dangerous ants, like fire ants, that will sting when they become aggressive. These stings can result in an itchy bump that can trigger an allergic reaction in certain people.
To avoid ants of any kind, do your best to maintain clean countertops and floors. If you’re having a picnic outdoors, keep all food covered as much as possible.
To most people’s surprise, there are nearly 2,000 different species and subspecies of fleas. These irritating insects usually live in warm environments and enjoy feeding on the blood of humans and animals alike.
Because fleas tend to be brought inside via pets, always make sure your pets are clean and use a flea comb regularly.
What to do if a bug bite gets bigger and redder
You may be wondering what to do when you get a bug bite, especially if you notice your bug bite swelling and turning red. If this happens, there’s a chance it may be getting infected. Keep a close eye on the bite as well as your symptoms. If you start to develop a fever, swollen lymph nodes or chills, you should seek medical attention as this could become dangerous.
Other signs your bite may be infected include flu-like symptoms, warmth in the affected area, sores or blisters with pus and a rash.
When does an insect bite require urgent medical attention?
While most bug bites don’t require medical attention, there are instances where you may need it so you can receive proper bug bite treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek emergency care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea, cramps or vomiting
- Dizziness or confusion
- Swelling of the lips or throat
- Muscle spasms
- Rapid heartbeat
Can urgent care treat tick bites?
Because it’s possible for ticks to carry bacteria that can result in infections such as Lyme disease, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention at an urgent care location if you’re bit, even though symptoms will likely be mild.
As soon as you realize you’ve been bitten by the tick, it’s important that you remove it immediately. In most cases, it takes 36 hours for an attached tick to transfer Lyme disease; however, other tick-borne infections can happen in a matter of minutes.
If possible, put the tick in a container and keep it in your freezer in case it needs to be sent away for testing should you develop an infection. Be sure to also wash the bite with soap and water.
When to seek treatment for a bug bite
While they can be annoying, most bug bites won’t actually cause you any harm other than a few days of itching. However, there are instances where a bug bite requires medical attention as a provider can make sure you’re receiving the best treatment for bug bites.
If you’ve experienced any of the following situations, it’s a good idea to seek treatment:
- Bites from a bug that’s known to be poisonous
- Bites that can result in a serious condition like Lyme disease
- Bites from an insect that you know you’re allergic to
If your bite is showing signs of infection, such as swelling or warm to the touch, you’ll need to see a provider for treatment as well. Fortunately, most bug bites that become infected can be easily treated using antibiotics.
Should you receive a dangerous bug bite or believe your bite may be infected, consider visiting your local CareNow® to receive quick and convenient treatment.
We’ve got locations all over the country and are open after hours and on the weekend when you need care most.
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