Your Summer Bug Bite Guide- Dean - WI

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Published on July 21, 2015

Your Summer Bug Bite Guide

The best way to avoid bug bites is to prevent them by wearing plenty of repellent as well as long-sleeved shirts and pants. Despite our best efforts, however, sometimes we still get bit. This guide will tell you how to treat bites and stings from three common insects, plus when it’s time to call the doctor, so you and your family won’t spend the summer in discomfort.

  1. Tick Bite: When coming in from outdoors, especially heavily wooded areas, check your whole body for ticks, including your groin, head and armpits. Be sure to check your kids and pets as well. Get rid of ticks on clothing by putting your clothes in a hot dryer or under the hot sun for at least 15 minutes.

    To remove a tick from the skin, use a pair of clean, fine-tipped tweezers and grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part stuck in the skin) as possible. Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly or twist the tick. Gently pull the tick straight out until it releases your skin from its mouth. Afterward, cleanse the area and your hands with soap and warm water.

    If you’re having trouble removing a tick, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. Ticks left attached for more than 36 hours may transfer Lyme disease, which is recognizable by a red rash that looks like a bull’s-eye. Most cases can be treated by a round of antibiotics from your doctor.

  2. Bee, Wasp, Hornet or Yellow Jacket Sting: Unlike regular bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets do not lose their stinger, meaning they can sting you multiple times. If stung, stay calm and leave the area quietly, as bees will alert other bees. Remove any stingers as quickly as possible by scraping the surface of the skin with a credit card. Wash the area with soap and warm water, then ice on and off for up to an hour. A rash or hives may develop, which can be treated with antihistamines and an NSAID like ibuprofen, although you should call your doctor in these cases to be safe.

    Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that affects a small percentage of the population, results in a swollen throat or tongue, difficulty breathing and nausea. If these symptoms develop, call 911 immediately.

  3. Spider Bite: Thankfully, most spider bites aren’t poisonous. Symptoms include red skin, a pimple-like bump, swelling and pain at the location of the bite. Apply ice every few hours while awake for the first three days. Elevate the affected body part to reduce swelling and the amount of venom getting into the bloodstream. Take an NSAID like ibuprofen to minimize pain and inflammation.

    Some spiders, like black widows, are poisonous. These spiders are timid, nonaggressive and rarely found in Wisconsin, but it doesn’t hurt to learn the signs. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms including a swollen face, muscle cramps, tightness in the chest, nausea or difficulty breathing or swallowing develop. Try to capture and kill the spider if possible, which can help the doctor identify your bite.

Looking for more safety tips? Follow Dr. Mom’s Five Tips for a Safe Summer.

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