Bug bites have always been a part of the summer season. Whether you’re out in the woods, sitting on a dock, out for a walk, or even sitting at home on your sofa, there’s a chance you’re going to get bit.
While most of the time, bug bites are little more than irritating, they can quickly become severe and life-threatening. And as bugs continue to move as climate changes and packages and other carriers move across the world, some bites may be more severe.
If you’re sitting out by your flower garden or enjoying a sweet snack on a patio, you’ve likely seen bees, wasps, and hornets circling. Most people can treat these painful stings at home with an ice pack and OTC remedy for pain, itching, and swelling.
All that is true if the swelling is localized to the area of the sting and there is no severe allergic reaction. But if you begin to generally swell, have trouble breathing, experience dizziness, or have any facial or tongue swelling, call 911.
Ticks are a growing menace to outdoor activities and have the potential to cause incurable Lyme disease.
These pests are hard to notice and generally hang out in the grass, waiting to be whisked away. They embed themselves into the skin, and that’s where problems occur.
The best strategy is to cover yourself when you go outdoors fully. If that’s not the case, inspect yourself and any animals that were outdoors. If you see a tick, remove it with clean tweezers and pull up in a steady motion. If you can’t safely remove it, go to the doctor.
Signs of a tick bite that should be brought to the attention of a doctor include a bull’s eye rash, or spots on the palms of your hands or soles on your feet that could indicate a tick-borne illness like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Mosquito bites, although common, can also present some danger. If you develop persistent flu-like symptoms like a fever, head or body ache, or upset stomach, it could be a sign of Zika or West Nile virus. Get to a doctor.
Most mosquito bites can be relieved with OTS sprays and creams to take care of itching.
Be careful with big bites this summer. You can protect yourself with clothing, bug spray, and screens, but it’s always important to be aware of the potential risks.