Symptoms, causes, and treatments for
Insect Bites and Stings
All manner of insects, from ants to mosquitoes, defend themselves with bites or stings when threatened. Most bites and stings are bothersome rather than life-threatening. Most of us have experienced an uncomfortable, but temporary, bite or sting from an insect.
However, bites and stings can cause a severe reaction if you’re allergic. Some species of insects—certain varieties of spiders, for example—may trigger an allergy that requires medical attention.
Bites occur in insect species like mosquitoes and lice. Mosquitos don’t sting you, even though their long, needle-like mouth seems a bit like a bee’s stinger.
The technical definition of a bite is when the insect pierces your skin to feed on your blood. Spiders also bite, and there are certain species of poisonous spiders in Oregon that can cause severe reactions.
Symptoms common to non-severe insect bites include:
Stings are wholly unique to wasps, bees and other similar insects. A sting is when you’re injected with venom through a stinger or stinger-like appendage. When doctors talk about allergic reactions to insects, stings are usually the cause—allergies to bee stings are fairly well-known to the public.
Stings share some similar symptoms to insect bites, which may make it hard to distinguish between the two if you didn’t actually see the culprit that attacked you.
Symptoms of non-severe insect stings include:
Just like you, insects are just trying to make their way in this big, dangerous world.
Bites or stings occur when these creatures are threatened and feel the need to use defensive measures to protect themselves or their insect families.
Unfortunately, until medical science devises a way to reason with bugs, you can’t convince an insect to stop its attack once you’ve disturbed or threatened it.
In general, no. Thousands of people spend countless hours outdoors in the summer pestered and bitten by, for example, mosquitoes without contracting serious diseases. Who didn’t accidentally step on a fire ant mound as a kid and suffer the (temporarily uncomfortable) consequences?
The Pacific Northwest generally benefits from, depending on the year, fewer recorded occurrences of mosquito-borne illnesses than other areas of the country.
However, allergic reactions to a bite or sting are no joke, and can cause life-threatening reactions.
Spiders, while largely benign, come in particularly poisonous varieties. You should seek immediate medical attention if you’ve recently been bitten by a spider and notice any of the following symptoms:
Anaphylaxis occurs when you have an allergic reaction to a bite or sting. Seek immediate medical attention if the following signs of anaphylaxis occur after being stung or bitten by an insect:
Insect Bites and Stings
Consider these tips to help prevent insect bites: