As the summer months approach, you may have found yourself reaching for the bug spray. Spending more time outdoors means more risk for bug bites. Though, most bites are not worth your concern, there are times when a bug bite will send you to the dermatologist or even the E.R. Whether you have an unusual reaction to a bite or you are allergic, it’s better to have it checked by a board-certified professional to rule out any disease-carrying critters.
Prevention is the First Defense
Before you head outside for the day, take a few precautions to keep the bugs where they belong and not on your skin. Always apply insect repellent such as those which contain up to 30% DEET. There are natural options which contain herbal ingredients such as lemon balm and citronella that can help as well.
Cover up by wearing protective clothing, especially if you are hiking or camping. Close-toed shoes, tucked in shirts, and longer socks are a great ways to keep bugs at bay. Spray your clothing, especially around any openings such as near your ankles, to prevent against ticks.
If you are planning on sleeping outside, a bed net tucked under the mattress or a well-sealed tent will keep you safe while you sleep.
Common Bug Bites and How to Treat them
In the U.S., if you recently got bit by something while outside, chances are it could be mites, bed bugs, spiders, mosquitos, ticks, fire ants, fleas, or biting flies. If you are not getting a severe reaction and are not allergic to the bite, there are a few simple ways to relieve discomfort at home. Apply an ice pack, use over-the-counter anti-itch creams, such as hydrocortisone, or take an over-the-counter pain killer, such as acetaminophen. Any of these can reduce inflammation, mild pain, and itching.
When to Seek Medical Attention About a Bug Bite
While most bug bites can easily be treated at home, there are times when you need to go straight to the emergency room. If you have trouble breathing, a swollen face, lips, or tongue, are vomiting or feel your throat closing, your heartbeat is racing, you have fever or spreading rash, chest pain, or have a red, donut-shaped rash from a tick bite, don’t wait. Seek help right away.
If you have a non-threatening bug bite or rash that requires a board-certified dermatologist, schedule an appointment at The Derm Group online or by calling 973.571.2121. We are now open and ready to safely welcome you.