An Overview of Bites, Stings, and Symptoms
Living anywhere means putting up with a variety of insects and pests. They sometimes bite or sting when they enter our homes, and treating the symptoms becomes necessary. Different pests cause different symptoms that require varied methods of treatment. Below, we’ll guide you through the symptoms of each common insect type, how soon you should treat an insect bite, when you should worry about an insect bite, how to prevent dangerous insect bites and why certain insect bites can be dangerous.
Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites
Many of us have heard the adage “don’t let the bed bugs bite,” and while it was something our parents said when putting us to sleep, it’s also a helpful bit of advice. Bed bugs sometimes find their way into our mattresses, sheets, blankets and couch cushions. These insects are relatively small and grow to be around the size of an apple seed. They feed on human blood, and one in five people have experienced an infestation in their home or known someone who has encountered bed bug activity.
Bed bugs are most active while people sleep, so you usually won’t feel the bite when it happens. You’ll only know you’re experiencing a bed bug infestation once you start showing symptoms.
These insects usually only bite on exposed areas while you’re sleeping, such as the neck, hands, arms or legs. The majority of people only experience minor symptoms, such as:
- Red dots where the bites occurred
- Itchiness, discomfort and irritation
- Bumps in a zigzag or straight pattern
Some people are more sensitive to bed bugs than others, which increases the number of symptoms. Moderate cases present symptoms such as:
- Red bumps with a dark or clear center
- Red spots surrounded by blisters or hives
- Burning sensation in the affected area
It’s rare for people to have severe reactions to bed bugs, but they can occur. Symptoms of a severe case of bed bug bites are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen tongue
- Irregular heartbeat
Severe reactions usually indicate an allergy, and in these situations, contact emergency medical services and use an epinephrine shot if you have one.
Since most bed bug bite reactions are mild, treatment is simple. These steps can help you treat the symptoms associated with these types of insect bites:
- Clean the area with soap and water and pat dry.
- Use hydrocortisone products to reduce itching and burning.
- Try not to scratch the area to prevent an infection from developing.
- If an infection does occur, see your doctor and get an antibiotic prescription.
Bed bug bites are often nothing to worry about, but living with bed bugs can impact your health long-term. Consistently compromising the skin increases the chance of infection, and sleep deprivation can lead to depression, anxiety and a suppressed immune system. If you suspect bed bugs have infested your home, contact a professional exterminator to remove these insects so you can get sleep in peace.
Symptoms of Spider Bites
One of the most common phobias involves spiders, but these arachnids play a big part in maintaining the balance of our ecosystem. Some people even keep spiders as exotic pets. Spiders won’t usually bite you unless you’ve threatened them, as you’re far too big to be a part of their diet. However, infestations are still something to be cautious of as it becomes more difficult to avoid these home invaders.
Being aware of the symptoms of spider bites can help you treat these bites should they occur.
Most cases of spider bites only result in minor reactions. The common symptoms of a spider bite include:
- Damaged skin
- Redness around the affected area
- Swelling around the bite
- Itching or irritation
Some people are more sensitive to spider bites than others. Additional symptoms of a moderate reaction include:
- Formation of a rash
- Increased redness or blistering
- Pain around the bite
A severe reaction usually only happens when a venomous spider bites you or if you’re allergic. These spider bites are rare, but when they do occur, the symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fever and chills
- High blood pressure
- Nausea or vomiting
If you suspect that a venomous spider has bitten you, such as a brown recluse, black widow or tarantula, seek immediate medical attention.
Spider bites are reasonably easy to treat at home. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a mild or moderate reaction, you can follow these steps to find some relief:
- Clean the area with soap and water to prevent infection.
- Use ice and elevate the area to reduce swelling.
- Take an antihistamine to treat the itching.
- Apply antibiotic ointment if a blister develops.
Spiders are great for the environment, but they don’t make the best house guests. When they become a problem, it’s essential to take action as soon as possible. A pest control expert can help you reduce the chances of encountering these arachnids in your home.
Symptoms of Mosquito Bites
Mosquitos are a nuisance, and when the weather gets humid, they come out in full force. If you spend time outdoors during the warm months, you’ve likely experienced a mosquito bite or two. These insects feed on the blood of their host to facilitate reproduction. While many methods exist to prevent mosquitos from swarming, bites can still happen, and the symptoms can be irritating at worst or severe and require medical attention.
Mosquito bites are prevalent in the United States, and most reactions are minor. At worst, they can be irritating and uncomfortable. The common symptoms of a mosquito bite include:
- Puffy skin
- Redness around the bite
Some people are more sensitive to mosquito bites than others. Multiple bites can also transition a reaction from mild to moderate. The moderate symptoms of a mosquito bite look like:
- Formation of blisters
- Spots that appear like bruises
Allergic reactions to mosquito bites are rare, but some individuals can experience anaphylaxis when bitten. A severe reaction can occur in children, immunocompromised individuals and adults exposed to a new species of mosquito that they haven’t been bitten by before. When they do occur, symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Excessive swelling and redness
If someone is experiencing anaphylactic shock from a mosquito bite, call emergency services as soon as possible to get immediate assistance.
Bites from these insects are uncomfortable, and the itching can be a nuisance throughout the healing process. There are some at-home treatments you can use to make your symptoms more bearable:
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Use ice to reduce swelling and help with itching.
- Apply an antihistamine to minimize itchiness throughout the day.
- Keep yourself from itching the bite to prevent infection.
If an infection happens, talk to your doctor if the symptoms have not disappeared after a couple of days. Mosquitos can transfer diseases through bites, such as the West Nile virus or malaria. A mosquito’s saliva transmits the diseases, and while this doesn’t often happen, being knowledgeable of this can help you seek treatment as soon as new symptoms appear.
Symptoms of Wasp and Bee Stings
When springtime approaches, bees and wasps come out of hibernation and begin the vital process of pollinating our flowers and crops. They are an essential part of our ecosystem, but they can create a nest and establish a new colony when they enter our space at home.
While it’s tempting to leave a bee or wasps nest alone, these insects can become territorial. As a result, a bee or wasp may sting you to protect their new home. Removing bee or wasp nests before they become a problem is the best way to prevent a sting from occurring.
You’ll know immediately when you’ve been stung, as the pain from the stinger is sharp. A wasp or bee sting usually looks like a raised red welt, with the stinger sometimes still embedded in the skin. The center may look white with wasp stings where the stinger punctured the skin. Reactions to a wasp or bee sting will vary, and some people are more susceptible to experiencing severe symptoms than others.
Most stings result in minor reactions that are uncomfortable or irritating at worst. The symptoms of a mild reaction are:
- Redness in the sting area
- Minor swelling in the affected area
- Pain that dissipates after a few hours
Moderate reactions are possible, especially if you’ve experienced moderate reactions to a bee or wasp sting before. These reactions typically present themselves as the following:
- Excessive redness in the affected area
- Swelling that increases over the first few days
- Pain or discomfort in the affected area
Severe or allergic reactions aren’t as common but always require immediate medical attention. You are having an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting if you experience:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling in the throat or tongue
- A weak pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
If these symptoms occur in your or someone you know, call 911 and use an epinephrine autoinjector if you have one available.
Minor and moderate stings usually don’t require a doctor’s visit and can be treated at home. Follow these steps if you experience a bee or wasp sting:
- Remove the stinger as soon as possible.
- Wash the location of the sting with soap and water. Pat dry.
- Use a hydrocortisone cream to help with any swelling and itching.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to relieve any discomfort or pain.
- Use ice as an additional method to alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
While bees and wasps usually only sting once in self-defense, there are times where multiple stings may occur, especially if you’ve aggravated an entire colony. If you’ve been stung more than 12 times, the excessive venom can cause nausea, headaches, vertigo and a fever. If a child, older adult or individual with immune problems experiences multiple stings, seek medical attention.
Symptoms of Rat Bites in Humans and Dogs
Rats have taken shelter in our homes for centuries, and the sight of them can often be distressing. They can damage the insides of your walls, eat your food and leave a mess everywhere they go. If you have a rat infestation, you may see them frequently, and you may end up getting bit. If you have a pet rat, the chances of being bitten increase.
Wounds from a rat bite look like small cuts or punctures in the skin and often bleed and swell. A bite from these rodents can cause mild symptoms that disappear within a short amount of time or moderate to severe reactions that last longer and come with more severe symptoms.
Most rat bites don’t result in anything serious, especially if the bite is taken care of promptly. Apart from some swelling and a little bit of pain, most rat bites don’t have any other symptoms.
In some cases, something called rat-bite fever (RBF) can occur, and there are two predominant types, the first being streptobacillary RBF. The list of symptoms includes:
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Skin rash
The symptoms of streptobacillary RBF heal within a week or two when adequately cared for.
The second type of RBF is called spirillary RBF, which appears to heal quickly, but symptoms show up one to three weeks after a bite has happened. There is a lot of overlap between the two types, but spirillary RBF has a few additional symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Ulcer at the sight of the wound
Severe allergic reactions to a rat bite are incredibly rare. If one does occur, the symptoms of anaphylaxis will look like:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased heart rate
If you suspect an allergic reaction to a rat bite, call 911 right away.
Taking care of a rate bite as soon as it happens is the best way to stop an adverse reaction from occurring. When a rat bite happens, follow these steps to prevent infection and RBF:
- Clean the wound as soon as possible with soap and water.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the area and bandage it.
- See a doctor shortly after to get checked.
- Get a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date or if it’s been longer than five years since your last shot.
If you have RBF, it’s essential to get treatment as soon as possible. Left untreated, RBF can turn into pneumonia, hepatitis, meningitis and a variety of other conditions. If rats have invaded your home, it’s a good idea to call a professional to have them safely exterminated.
Symptoms of Scorpion Stings
Scorpions are predominately found in the southwest United States, but they can be found in multiple locations across the country. These arachnids prefer warm climates and often hide in crevices, boots and under floors—exercise caution when reaching into these spaces to avoid stings. If a sting does occur, it’s a good rule of thumb to call your local poison control center or emergency medical services to rule out a severe reaction since immediate treatment is vital with certain venomous species of scorpion.
Most venomous scorpions are found in the southwest United States. If you’re stung by a scorpion in another area of the country, then your reaction will more than likely be mild. Some of the symptoms include:
- Tingling or burning
- Mild pain
Some people are more sensitive to scorpion stings, even if they’re nonvenomous. Their reactions may not be severe, but they are stronger than someone who experiences a mild response. Some of the additional symptoms include:
- Increased pain at the sting site
- Increase redness and swelling
- Severe pain that lasts for a few hours
A severe reaction to a scorpion sting affects the body in multiple ways as the venom travels through the bloodstream. Some symptoms of a severe reaction include:
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy throat or nose
- Nausea and vomiting
Treating a scorpion sting promptly is crucial to reduce symptoms and make a full recovery. When a scorpion sting occurs, follow these steps:
- Call 911 or your local poison control center to determine if the sting came from a very venomous scorpion. Try to describe the scorpion that stung you on hand if you can.
- If the sting was determined to be a medical nonemergency, you could treat the symptoms at home. Start by cleaning the area with soap and water.
- Use ice to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
- Keep the area as still as possible to keep the venom from circulating through the body.
- Loosen clothing and tight jewelry.
- Take an antihistamine, if possible.
Even with mild and moderate reactions, symptoms can last for several days. If you take proper care of the sting, you should feel your symptoms start to subside after a few days before you make a full recovery.
Fight Off Insects and Pests With Apex Pest Control
Pests can be a menace when they enter your home and throw off the balance of your living space. Let the professionals at Apex Pest Control handle the infestation rather than spending your precious time trying to kick out these uninvited house guests. Our trained staff and advanced methods will keep those pests in check so you can reclaim your space.
We offer a variety of services and service plans for your convenience so you can choose the proper method for you. Get in touch today and let us help you with all your pest control needs.