Tis the season for heat, humidity and an influx of strange bugs… and bites!
WELCOME TO SUMMER
Have you ever undressed to find some odd looking red bump or mark on your skin and wondered just what the heck it was or how it even got there? Of course you have. And it certainly didn’t just magically appear there for no reason. In most cases that skin irritation is, well, thanks to a thoughtful bug of some sort.
Do you have what it takes to identify said red mark? Or the bug that made it? If not, you’re in luck because I have the scoop on some typical summer loving insects and the marks they leave behind when they’re finished with us victims.
Take a look…
These blood suckers can be a real nuisance and worse yet, the Western black-legged and deer ticks can cause Lyme disease. Blah!
Early symptoms of infection include a fever, headache and fatigue. It’s pertinent (if you suspect Lyme Disease) to see your doctor immediately because if left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of the body including the muscles, joints, heart and nervous system.
Another annoying blood sucker, the mosquito loves the heat and humidity and the hotter and more humid it is, the more active they seem to become. In most cases these bugs only leave behind an itchy, flesh colored or red bump that goes away in a few days but some mosquito’s do carry the West Nile virus so prepare yourself before heading out, especially in the evening hours when they’re most active.
Insect repellent is a great way to stop those buggers in their tracks. And make sure you remove all standing water in your yard to prevent them from laying eggs and multiplying.
Bed Bugs -
Yep, yet again another blood sucker. Can’t these vampires just leave us alone? These guys love to hide in our beds, and other furniture until they can feast. They leave itchy red bites on the skin, typically the arms and shoulders, but luckily they’re more of a nuisance than a health hazard.
It’s possible to develop a skin infection from their bites due to excessive scratching or an allergy so the use of corticosteroids and oral antihistamines may be in order. Check with your doctor first to see what they recommend.
These tiny little insects can cause a big skin problem. The mites get down into the skin and create intense itching and skin sores that don’t appear until several weeks after the mites get into your skin. Itching is usually worse at night and is typically seen around the elbows, sides and webs of fingers, the wrists, genitalia and buttocks.
They’re spread through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing bath towels, bed linens and other items. Prescription medications and/or lotions may be prescribed to get rid of the skin irritation. And washing of all clothing, bedding and towels in super hot water is a great way to get rid of them.
You’ve possibly seen these tiny little arachnids crawling on the sidewalk or on your porch as you sit unsuspecting. Their bites are painless but the lesions are very itchy, and peaks after 2 days once the bite occurs.
Your skin may be covered in welts that itch like crazy thanks to these tiny blood suckers. Over-the-counter products seem to help itching but if your skin appears infected, see your doctor.
Fire Ants -
Those bites sure look like they came from fangs don’t they? Nope, they’re the handy work of fire ants. These guys tend to be found in the southern states but if you happen upon a large mound of dirt in an open area of your yard, back away and get some insecticide immediately. Treat the area from a distance if possible.
Fire ants are aggressive if disturbed and will attack by latching onto the skin with their jaws and sting with their abdomens. Venom may be injected which in turn causes red, burning lesions and painful pus-filled bumps. Cold packs, pain relievers and antihistamines may help relieve symptoms. A large number of stings may cause a toxic or severe life-threatening allergic reaction so seek emergency care immediately.
Sure, these buggers are typical invaders of pets but they’re not picky. If you’re full of blood, you’re a great host and they’ll line up for the buffet. Fleas are wingless, agile insects can jump.
They cause red skin irritations but can be prevented by using insecticides on your pets, around baseboards, and keeping furniture, flooring and bedding cleaned and vacuumed regularly. Scratching can create wounds or infection so treat the areas with topical solutions.
Black Widow Spider -
This little lady is extremely poisonous. She likes to hide in cool, dark places such as garages, sheds, basements, or wood piles. She is long-legged, and glossy black with a red, yellow or orange hourglass shape on her underside.
The black widow bite typically creates a stabbing pain but can also be painless. Skin irritation looks like one or two fang marks that are red and tender and may have a nodule. Bites can cause severe muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and a rise in blood pressure. Seek medical care immediately!
Bee, Wasp, Yellow Jacket or Hornet -
Certain bees often leave a destinctible “gift” behind… their stingers once they’ve stung you. The good news is they die after that. But for you, you’re not so lucky. Wasps, hornets and yellow jackets can inflict you with multiple stings without leaving their stingers. Too bad, and those stings can cause serious reactions, especially in those who are allergic.
If you’re lucky enough to not be allergic, carefully remove that stinger (if there is one), clean the site, apply ice to reduce swelling, and take an oral antihistamine for itching, as well as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. If you or someone you know is stung and they are allergic and experience anaphylactic shock, use an Epipen if you have one and call for emergency help right away.
Puss Caterpillar -
How many of you knew that some caterpillars bite? Well, the puss caterpillar does and it’s very poisonous. This guy or girl feeds on shade trees such as elm, oak and sycamore but if it comes into contact with your skin, it stings and creates waves of intense pain, rash, fever, vomiting and muscle cramps. Bad caterpillar, right?
The poison is hidden in the hollow spines along the hairs of this guy so if you are stung, remove the broken-off spines by using cellophane tape or a commercial facial peel and then call your doctor.
So, there you have it. 10 not-so-nice insects that can truly put a damper on your Summer enjoyment. Now that you know what these culprits look like and where they tend to hang out, make every attempt to prevent being their next victim by taking precautions now. You’ll thank me later!
© 2013, Dee @ Bella Savvy. All rights reserved.