How to Tell If Your Bug Bite is Serious
Summer is the season of sunshine, barbecues, and beach days. However, it's also the season of bugs. While most bug bites are nothing more than an annoyance, some of these little pests can cause serious harm. From venom to disease, it's essential to know when a bug bite is doing some serious damage to your body. Here are some signs to look for to know when to seek medical attention.
Swelling is a common reaction to most bug bites, but if it continues for days or spreads to other parts of your body, seek medical attention. Joseph Alton, MD, warns that a swollen eyelid could be a sign of Chagas disease, an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Although this parasite was previously found only in Latin America, it's now being reported in some parts of the U.S.
While most insect bites will swell but not bruise, a mysterious bite that starts to turn black and blue could indicate an allergy to the mosquito's saliva or even a staph infection.
Some bug bites can cause severe allergic reactions that can result in fatal heart attacks. If you experience chest pain after a bug bite, go to the hospital right away.
Difficulty Breathing or Ulcerations
Bites from venomous arachnids like the black widow and brown recluse can cause difficulties breathing and ulcerations at the site of penetration, indicating severe anaphylactic shock.
Feeling dizzy after a bug bite could mean you are allergic to the pest, or you've been bitten by a black widow spider. In either case, seek medical attention right away.
Lyme disease, Chikungunya virus, and venomous spider bites can cause nausea, but they can easily be treated by a medical professional. However, never ignore a bullseye rash surrounding a bug bite, which is a telltale indication of Lyme disease.
If your temperature spikes after being stung by an unknown bug, it's vital to seek medical attention as it could be a brown recluse spider bite.
Exotic Vacation Symptoms
After traveling to countries like Brazil or China, if you begin to experience profuse sweating coupled with a high fever and diarrhea, you might have contracted malaria. It's best to beware of the warning signs of this mosquito-transmitted illness, although vaccinations are available before traveling.
Headaches can be indicative of several illnesses, including chikungunya virus. It can last until the virus passes, and doctors can prescribe pain medicine for it.
While it's normal for the skin around a bug bite to be hot to the touch for a few days, if it remains inflamed and warm even after several days, it could be an infected bite.
If any of the glands on your body become enlarged after a bug bite, you could be suffering from everything from West Nile virus to a bad reaction to a black widow bite. Seek medical attention immediately.
If you're sleeping for 12 hours a night and are still waking up exhausted, you might be dealing with one of several illnesses, like Lyme disease, chikungunya, or Ross River fever. Chronic fatigue can severely impact your day-to-day life, so it's essential to get yourself checked out.
Severe Allergic Reaction
Any and all bug bites can cause a severe allergic reaction, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even a closing of the airways entirely. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat.
Abdominal pain coupled with vomiting and other symptoms could be a sign of a more severe issue, such as an allergic reaction, Babesiosis, or West Nile virus. If you experience stomach pain along with other symptoms, go to the doctor immediately.
Bug bites can be more than just an annoying itchy red bump. If you notice any of the above signs, it's best to seek medical attention to avoid any severe complications.
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