Insect Bites (cont.)
Insect Bites Symptoms
- The response to a sting or bite from insects or "bugs" is variable and
depends on a variety of factors. Most bites and stings result in pain, swelling,
redness, and itching to the affected area; some may blister. The skin may be
broken and become infected. If not treated properly, these local infections may
become severe and cause a condition known as
- You may experience a severe reaction beyond the immediate area of the sting
if you are allergic to the bite or sting. This is known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms
of a severe reaction include hives, wheezing, shortness of breath,
unconsciousness, and even death within 30 minutes.
- Stings from large hornets or multiple (hundreds or thousands) bee stings have
been reported to cause muscle breakdown and kidney failure and death.
- Bites from a fire ant typically produce a pustule, or a pimple-like sore,
that is extremely itchy and painful.
- Spider bites like the brown recluse may cause blistering and necrotic skin
ulceration while black widow spider bites cause more systemic symptoms such as
chest pain and rarely, respiratory problems.
- Ant bites are usually seen singly or in small clusters and each bite may
develop a small central area of pus.
In the past few years, researchers have found that tick bites (from the lone
star tick) can generate an allergic response to red meat (beef, pork and
venison, for example) and even milk.
These problems may occur from the bite and the antigens that accompany the
saliva during the bite or sting. The added problems of pathogen transfer during
the bite, sting or feeding process are detailed in separate articles and will
only be mentioned briefly in this general article.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2014
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