With all this beautiful summer weather comes the onset of bugs and the annoyingly itchy bumps they leave in their wake. While we try to bask in the warmth of the outdoors, these little pests are taking advantage of such a convenient meal.
Here are some common types of bites and their symptoms, as well as some preventative measures you can take to avoid the bites and bumps this summer.
Types of Bug Bites
Mosquitos are a small type of fly and the word actually means “Little Fly” in Spanish. Only the females bite, since they require protein from blood to help develop their eggs.
Mosquito bites are small, round and inflamed bumps that can become red, swollen and itchy. As the mosquito bites, they pump saliva containing mild painkillers and an anti-coagulant into your skin. A mild allergic reaction to the saliva causes the swelling and itching while the anti-coagulant prevents bleeding.
Like the mosquito, only the female black flies bite in order to nourish their eggs. Black flies are found mostly in areas that experience a significant spring melt or flooding.
Black fly bites are painful and itchy and can sometimes result in a rash. Instead of inserting a feeding tube like mosquitos do, black flies bite a chunk of your skin which can lead to a tiny spot of bleeding.
Ticks are a type of arachnid that can potentially carry diseases such as Lyme. While most do not pose a serious health risk, it is crucial to immediately remove a tick if you find one.
Tick bites are serious business and can cause pain, swelling and a burning sensation as well as a rash and blisters. After a tick bites, it remains attached to the host. If you suspect you or your little ones can been bitten by a tick, it is best to see a doctor immediately.
Horseflies are a larger type of fly, ranging in size from about 10mm to 25mm long. They are mostly found in fields, around stables and cattle and near water.
Horsefly bites cause itchiness, redness, swelling and, in some cases, bruising. Because they are a larger species of fly, you can feel a slight pinch as they bite you. It is important to keep a horsefly bite clean as the way it bites your skin can make it prone to infection.
What Causes a Reaction
When a bug bites you, venom is injected into your body and causes the immune system to respond. The immediate immune response is the redness and swelling with delayed reactions including itching and soreness.
Symptoms of Severe Reactions
The symptoms listed above are typical for each kind of bug bite. However, sensitivities and allergies may cause more severe reactions to a bite. In which case, medical aid should be sought immediately.
Some severe reactions to bug bites include:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Lips and throat swelling
You can take some simply precautions to keep the bugs away from you this summer.
- Wear full coverage clothing. This may be difficult in the warmer months, but even something light and airy that covers the skin will prevent bites.
- Avoid wearing scents. Body lotions and fancy sprays are like a magnet to biting bugs. Best to avoid them in the summer.
- Wear neutral colors and avoid floral prints. If there’s two thing bugs like, it’s dark colors and flowers. Make yourself less attractive to bugs by wearing neutral-colored clothing.
- Use insect repellent. Spray yourself with anything that contains 20-30% DEET to keep those pesky biters away.
- Opt for essential oils. If you’re hesitant about using commercial bug sprays, try an essential oil blend to ward off the bugs. Oils such as peppermint, citronella and lemongrass are natural bug repellents.