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Albright College

TIP OF THE MONTH

JULY

Bug Bites

Summer is at its peak and so are the many critters and insects that wreak havoc on our bodies.  Avoiding these pests may not be as easy as we’d like, but knowing the culprit will make it easier to treat the symptoms of the bug bite.

Here are some bugs to watch out for:

Ticks:  Not all carry diseases, but some can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  To help prevent tick bites, make sure your extremities are covered or use a tick repellant with DEET on skin or clothing.  Check for ticks after being outdoors in grassy or wooded areas.  If you do find a tick on your body, make sure to have it removed properly, preferably by a health professional, as they can determine the need for antibiotics or testing for Lyme disease.  A red circular rash around the area that was affected may be a sign of Lyme’s disease.

Spiders: Black Widow spiders and Brown Recluse spiders are both poisonous and bites should be treated immediately to avoid serious complications.  Black Widow Spiders like to hang out in wood piles and tree stumps.  These spiders are long legged and glossy black with a red, yellow, or orange hourglass-shaped underside.  Symptoms of a bite from a Black Widow include sharp shooting pain up the limb, red fang marks at the site, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, seizure and high blood pressure.  Brown Recluse Spiders usually hide out in attics and closets.  The spiders range in color from yellowish-tan to dark brown, with the legs being darker.  Symptoms to watch out for with these spider bites are redness in the affected area that turns to white and develops a red “bulls eye”, and blisters.  If you are bitten by either of these spiders, seek immediate medical attention.

Fleas:  Small and wingless, fleas feed off of the blood of a host, they not only attack animals, but humans also.  Symptoms of a flea bites are small raised areas in the skin and itching.  Vacuum daily and treat infested animals and areas with insecticides.  Affected areas and pets may require multiple treatments to fully get rid of the infestation. 

Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket:  Unlike bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets will not lose their stinger if they sting.  They may sting multiple times and not die.  People with allergic reactions to these insects should carry an Epi Pen (epinephrine) to avoid an anaphylactic reaction.  You should try to remove the stinger as soon as you can.  After removing the stinger, clean the affected area; apply ice and take an oral antihistamine.  You can also take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief if needed. 

To find out about more pesky bugs and see pictures of bugs mentioned in this article, visit the link below:

If you have specific questions about DEET please see:

 

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