- Bite from an insect (bug)
- Bees, mosquitoes, fire ants, ticks and spiders are not covered. See those care guides.
Symptoms of Insect Bites
- Insect bites usually cause a small red bump.
- Often, it looks like localized hives (one large one or several small ones).
- Sometimes, a small water blister occurs in the center of the bump. This is common in younger children.
- Itchy Insect Bites. Bites of mosquitoes, chiggers (harvest mites), fleas, and bedbugs usually cause itchy, red bumps.
- Painful Insect Bites. Bites of horseflies, deer flies, and gnats usually cause a painful, red bump. Fire ants, harvester ants, blister beetles, and centipedes also cause a painful, red bump. Within a few hours, fire ant bites can change to blisters or pimples.
Cause of Insect Bite Reaction
- The skin bumps are the body's reaction to the insect's saliva.
- While the bug is sucking blood, some of its secretions get mixed in.
Anaphylaxis With Insect Bites: Very Rare
- A severe life-threatening allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis.
- The main symptoms are difficulty breathing and swallowing starting within 2 hours of the sting. Onset usually is within 20 minutes.
- Anaphylaxis can occur with bee, yellow jacket, wasp, or fire ant stings. Anaphylactic reactions are very rare after other insect bites. Reason: other insects don't have venom.
Problems Caused by Insect Bites
- Impetigo. A local bacterial infection. Gives sores, soft scabs and pus. Caused by scratching or picking at the bites. More common in itchy bites.
- Cellulitis. The bacterial infection spreads into the skin. Gives redness spreading out from the bite. The red area is painful to the touch.
- Lymphangitis. This is a bacterial infection that spreads up the lymph channels. Gives a red line that goes up the arm or leg. More serious because the infection can get into the bloodstream. (This is called sepsis.)