Here’s How To Identify And Treat Summer’s Worst Bug Bites And Stings

Summer is a fun time of fireworks and barbecues, hiking and camping, and playing outside and working in the yard. The plentiful sunlight and warm weather make going outside a natural routine. However, humans aren’t the only ones who relish in the warmth. Pests do as well, and often, the twain shall meet. If you come into contact with one of these many outdoor insects, whether they’re flies that bite or bees that sting, follow these treatment guidelines.

8. Mosquitoes

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Photo: Pixabay

Mosquitoes are among the most common of all biting insects, arriving with the spring season and sticking around through the fall. They can be especially virulent in wet, humid areas. If you get bitten, resist the urge to itch, as it can cause infection. Instead, treat the bite with a baking-soda-and-water paste, a dry bar of soap, aloe, or lemon or lime juice.

7. Chiggers

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Chiggers are a type of mite that are barely visible to the human eye. They live in wooded or vegetated areas, in grass, tall weeds, or berry patches. Like mosquito bites, chigger bites may itch, and that itch can be severe. Take a bath right away to remove any remaining chiggers and apply anti-itch cream onto any welts.

6. Spiders

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Spider bites can range from irritating to dangerous, depending on the type of spider and the age of the person bitten. For this reason, treatments vary. If you think you’ve been bitten by a black widow or a brown recluse, see your doctor and be prepared to describe what the spider looked like. Children in particular are more vulnerable to the venom of these spiders and require immediate medical attention. If you or your child are experiencing severe symptoms such as extreme pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, weakening or stiffening of your muscles, or you develop an infection where you were bitten, get to the emergency room. For milder symptoms, clean the bitten area thoroughly, and add antibiotic ointment and an ice pack to reduce swelling.

5. Bees

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/SuperManu

Bee stings will typically leave a red welt and slight swelling, which usually subsides after a few hours. If a bee stings you, its stinger will likely be attached to the site of the sting. Use a pair of tweezers to pull it out, then wash the area with soap and water. Use ice to numb the pain and reduce swelling.

4. Wasps

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Photo: Pixabay
Like bee stings, a wasp sting may produce a welt and swelling. Unlike bees, wasps don’t lose their stingers or die after a sting. So while you don’t have to find a stinger and pull it out, you do have to get out of the area where you were stung as soon as possible to avoid further stings. For treatment, wash the affected area with soap and water, and apply ice. Take an antihistamine as needed to control itching.

3. Fire Ants

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Photo: Flickr/andrechinn
Fire ants are a reddish color and typically nest in the ground in grassy areas. If disturbed, they can attack in swarms and sting you multiple times. Their stings can become swollen and infected, with severe symptoms including nausea, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. If you’ve been stung and are suffering from an allergic reaction, get medical care. For milder treatment, ice the area for 15-minute intervals with the site of the sting elevated. Apply hydrocortisone cream or take an antihistamine as needed.

2. Ticks

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Tomfy

Ticks — which live in wooded or immensely vegetated areas — are bloodsuckers that are capable of spreading disease. They don’t bite as much as they stick their head into your skin to feed on blood. If a tick bites you, you’ll probably find it attached to your skin. To remove a tick, place a pair of tweezers around the body as close to the head as possible, and pull the tick straight out. Clean the affected area with soap and warm water, and apply alcohol to prevent further infection. See a doctor if parts of the tick cannot be removed or if you develop a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, or muscle aches.

1. Jellyfish

Photo: Flickr/Thomas Quine

Jellyfish may not be a typical summer pest to some, but those who live on the coasts know that they can sting. If you’ve been stung, avoid rubbing or touching the wound and rinse the affected area with saltwater. Use an ID or credit card to remove the venom-filled tentacles and treat the wound with a vinegar rinse. This not only acts as an antibacterial agent, but also numbs the pain. Use baking soda paste as well if needed. Immerse the affected area in hot water or take a hot shower to help stop the sting, or you can apply ice to help relieve pain. Seek immediate medical help if the sting covers more than half of your arm or leg, if the sting came from a box jellyfish, or if you have severe reactions that include nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing.

These aren’t the only insects out there this summer that may be looking for a tasty human treat. Deer flies look similar to houseflies, but have the added element of biting. Treat their bites with soap and water. Mites and fleas are small, but they have a big bite — literally. These bites might require prescription medication. However, the best way to fight pest bites is to prevent them. Wear bug repellent, protective clothing, and keep an eye out for potential problems.

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