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Bug bites

Spring is around the corner and the bugs will be waking up. A bug bite can be a serious annoyance even though most people’s lives are not threatened. Once a bug bites, the body releases histamines as part of its immune response. The skin will swell around the bite and will probably itch. The best treatments begin with bug identification. The most common warm weather bugs are mosquitos, bees, ticks, spiders and bed bugs.

A mosquito bite will leave the skin slightly swollen and red with a significant itch. A bee’s sting will often leave behind its stinger which will need removing. When bed bugs bite, they leave small red patches that itch. Get professional pest removal to remove these nasty creatures quickly. Ticks attach to the skin and can be severe if a bull’s eye shape emerges. Check the scalp, around the ears, and between the toes for these elusive critters. Spiders live both inside and out, often in dark undisturbed locations. One way to self-protect when working in tall grasses or basements is to wear white clothing tucked into socks around the ankles as well as a hat. Bugs will be noticeable.

Whatever the bug-bite, remove any byproduct with tweezers and wash the affected area with soap and water. Use ice to cool off the skin and to help reduce swelling. If pain is evident, take Tylenol or Advil or its generic equivalent. To relieve itching, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.

Though scratching will ease discomfort at first, it will only make the skin look and feel worse. Going outside during beautiful weather can be less problematic with a bit of preparation. Use a bug repellent with DEET for protection. DEET-free products are also available.

More often than not, bug bites will heal. On the rare occasion that swelling does not subside, or an area of redness grows, if pus is emitted from the bite, a fever or chills set in, or if lymph nodes swell in the armpits, neck or groin, seek medical attention at once. People with known allergies to bees should consider speaking with a doctor about carrying a prescription epinephrine pen to be safe. This injection will offer a degree of safety for the sufferer until he or she can receive emergency care.

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