Insect Bite Reaction Symptoms and First Aid

An insect bite is a puncture wound made by the bite or sting of an insect. Insect bites, either in self-defense or to feed itself. It is important to know about the insect bite reaction and first aid.

Insect Bite Reaction Symptoms and First Aid

Insect Bite Reaction and First Aid

Insect bite reactions are mostly mild which lead to redness, itching, slight swelling, which subsides in a day or two. In a very rare case, when bitten by a bee, scorpion or fire ants a severe reaction can result. This can get infected and lead to stiffness in that area, with pus draining from the wound. The illnesses which can result from insect bites like mosquito bites is malaria, sleeping sickness, dengue fever or Zika virus.

People who stay outdoors are more at risk of insect bite. The risk of catching a disease from insect bite decreases during cold climates.

Symptoms of Insect Bite Reaction

Insect bite leads to the development of a small itchy lump on the skin. It is also visible as a small pin point hole.

When an insect bites the body reacts to the venom or the protein that is injected through the bite. This results in the symptoms such as,

The severity of symptoms depends on the type of insect that bites or stings you. Mostly the reaction from the bite disappears within a day or two. In some people, the stings and bites result in a severe reaction, presenting the following symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shock
  • Swelling of face and mouth
  • Breathing problem, chest tightness, and wheezing

These symptoms of insect bite need to be addressed soon by a medical professional. Some severe cases may be a medical emergency, hence it is important to be vigilant. Infection after an insect bite can lead to a very strong reaction which can lead to redness and pain at the site of the bite and the following symptoms,

  • Fever
  • Pus at the site of the bite
  • Swollen gland
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen glands

The symptoms of insect bite do not last for more than a few hours to a few days. If in case it lingers for months, the individual should consult a doctor.

First Aid For An Insect Bite

Most mild insect bites by arthropods are manageable with immediate supportive care and local wound treatment.1 The first aid tips for a mild reaction from an insect bite, follow the below-listed tips,

  • Move away to a safer area to avoid more stings and bites
  • Remove the stinger, if required
  • Clean the area with soap and water
  • Apply a cold compress. You can use a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice. This helps in reducing pain and swelling.
  • If the injury involves the arm or the leg, elevate the limb
  • You can apply calamine lotion, baking soda or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area several times in a day.

Antihistamines help reduce the itching.

  • In a severe reaction, the following steps can be taken to prevent complications.
  • Before giving any first aid call for the local emergency service.
  • Encourage the patient to stay calm and make them lie down and elevate the legs.
  • If there is vomiting, turn them onto their side to avoid choking.
  • Begin CPR if the patient becomes unconscious or stops breathing. Keep doing it till the medical service arrives.
  • Avoid giving patient anything to eat or drink.

Insect bite should be addressed immediately, if any severe reaction is noticed to avoid complications and secondary bacterial infections like cellulitis, lymphangitis, or impetigo. Also, preventive measures should be taken to avoid breeding of the mosquitoes.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537235/

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