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Five Common Insect Bites and How to Tell the Difference

insect biteThere is one advantage of living in an area with cold winters: For an entire season, you generally don’t have to worry much about insect bites. There may be a few insects indoors, but it’s nothing compared to the quantity and variety of insects roaming the great outdoors during spring, summer and autumn months. In fact, the majority of urgent care visits related to insect bites occur during the summer months.

Of course, the presence of insects (and the possibility of insect bites) can’t stop you and your family from roaming far and wide, exploring the outdoors and making the most of beautiful weather. Few insect bites are seriously dangerous, and for the most part, it’s easy to keep yourself well-protected.

One important skill is being able to determine when you or a family member does have an insect bite—and if so, what kind of bite. Knowing the difference between common types of insect bite will help you know what kind of first aid to administer and whether a visit to urgent care may be necessary.

Here are five very common insect bites and how to tell the difference.

1. Bed bug bites typically form a small, itchy rash. This type of bite is not unlike a mosquito or flea bites.

2. Bees don’t bite, but their stingers can leave a mark. Bee stings look more faded and swollen. Make sure you remove the stinger and put ice on the sting.

3. Fire ant stings can look like bee stings, although in cases of severe allergic reaction, it can take on the appearance of blisters or even whiteheads.

4. Spider bites vary significantly, but are usually distinct. Some spiders leave two “fang” marks while others leave a single depression. If you’ve been bitten by a spider, it may be best to visit your local urgent care center to rule out a poisonous bite, such as that of a black widow or brown recluse.

5. Mosquito bites can look whitish or reddish, slightly puffy, and very itchy! Most people know a mosquito bite when they see one…it’s a matter of experience!

Keeping those insects away

Fleas, fire ants, bed bugs, chiggers—there are certainly a number of things that can bite you during the summer months. The truth is, many of these bites can look alike and most can be extremely itchy or uncomfortable. If you’re sure about what bit you or your loved one have and you aren’t in too much discomfort, over the counter treatments should do the trick. If you’re unsure or just want clarification, an urgent care center will be able to help you diagnose the bite and prescribe treatment.

A good bug repellant goes a long way when it comes to steering clear of insect bites. Other methods such as citronella candles and anti-insect coils can help keep outdoor social areas clear of insects. The reality is that no matter how well we protect ourselves, insect bites are simply a part of life. That’s why having some basic information on how to identity and treat common insect bites is important. It helps parents and children to stay safe and health-conscious throughout their outdoor adventures.

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