Twenty percent of people are prone to mosquito bites during the summer. This might be why you have an itchy bump during your summer hike. Ignoring it can lead to an infection or a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Proper care will alleviate the discomfort and minimizes complications. This can lead to a more enjoyable, uninterrupted summer experience. Keep reading to learn how to treat insect bites in the summer.
Identifying the Culprit
Knowing which bug has bitten you can help pinpoint the proper treatment plan. Mosquito bites appear as small, itchy bumps, while tick bites may lead to a bull’s-eye rash.
Search for the location, the number, and the size of the bite. A single, swollen bump could suggest a bee sting, whereas a trail of bug bites might be marching ants.
Immediate Action after Insect Bites
Start by washing the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. Cleaning the bite location can help prevent secondary infection. After that, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
Removing the stinger or tick might be necessary. Remember to do this with care to avoid causing further injury.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products can reduce discomfort and itching associated with insect bites. Creams and lotions containing hydrocortisone or calamine can be beneficial. Antihistamine creams and pain relievers can also help alleviate symptoms.
Remember to read and follow all instructions when using OTC. Some products may have age restrictions or dosage limits. They are not a substitute for proper medical care if symptoms worsen or persist.
Home Remedies for Insect Bites
A paste made from baking soda and water can relieve itchiness. Applying apple cider vinegar can soothe the itch and reduce swelling. Tea trees, lavender, and peppermint oil can also provide relief.
Remember to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to the skin. This help avoid potential irritation. As with any treatment, discontinue use if you experience adverse reactions.
Understanding Tick Bites and Lyme Disease
Ticks are a unique concern in the world of insect bites. These tiny creatures can carry Lyme disease, which can cause severe health issues. If a tick has bitten you, remove it carefully with tweezers and monitor the bite area.
If you see the classic ‘bullseye’ rash, then that may indicate Lyme disease. Flu-like symptoms following a tick bite should prompt immediate medical attention. Early detection and treatment prevent long-term complications.
Mosquito Bite Management
Mosquito bites are the most common insect bites during summer. They can carry West Nile Virus or Zika. To manage these bites, apply an anti-itch cream and avoid scratching.
Use an insect repellent containing DEET during early morning dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Consider wearing long pants and sleeves and using mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.
Handling Bee and Wasp Stings
Bee and wasp stings can cause immediate, sharp pain and swelling. Remove the stinger by scraping it with a credit card. Avoid using tweezers, as this could squeeze venom into the skin.
Wash the area and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Seek medical attention if you experience:
- Swelling of the face, lips, or throat
All of these are signs of an allergic reaction. Always carry an epinephrine auto-injector if you’re allergic to bee or wasp stings.
Stay Safe from Insect Bites This Summer
While some may get a small, red bump where they were bitten, a small percentage of people may actually be allergic to the saliva of the insect. These individuals can get large welts, hives or even experience shortness of breath. A prescription steroid can ease the itching of bites. Be wary of allowing too much itching, as it can break down the skin and make it prone to skin infection or dermatitis.
If any of the following symptoms occur following a bite, seek immediate emergency care:
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the lips, face, eyelids or throat
- Dizziness, fainting or unconsciousness
- A weak and rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
Take these actions immediately while waiting for medical help:
- Ask whether the injured person is carrying an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, others). Ask whether you should help inject the medication.
- Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket.
- Don’t offer anything to drink.
- If needed, position the person in the recovery position on their side to prevent choking on vomit.
Navigating through the various insects during summer can be challenging. With the proper precautions, managing and treating bug bites can be easy. Understanding the signs of different bites and knowing when to get help are all effective summer safety practices.
Your safety is our top priority, and our team of experts is ready to guide you. Check out our resources and forms to ensure a safer, more enjoyable summer experience.