Insect bites and Stings occur when an insect is agitated and seeks to defend itself through its natural defense mechanisms, or when an insect seeks to feed off the bitten person. Some insects inject formic acid. This can cause an immediate skin reaction often resulting in redness and swelling in the injured area. The sting from fire ants, bees, wasps and hornets are usually painful, and may stimulate a dangerous allergic reaction called anaphylaxis for at-risk patients, and some wasps can also have a powerful bite along with a sting. Bites from mosquitoes and fleas are more likely to cause itching than pain.
The skin reaction to insect bites and stings usually lasts for up to few days. However, in some cases the local reaction can last for up to two years. These bites are sometimes misdiagnosed as other types of benign or cancerous lesions.
The reaction to a sting is of three types. The normal reaction involves the area around the bite with redness, itchiness, and pain. A large local reaction occurs when the area of swelling is greater than 5 cm. systemic reactions are when symptoms occur in areas besides that of the bites.
Characteristics of feeding bite of insects and other arthropods
Arthropods are insects that live primarily on land and have 6 legs. They dominate the present day land fauna. They represent about three-fourths of known animal life. In fact, the actual number of living species could range from 5-10 million. The orders that contain the greatest numbers of species are Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Hymenoptera ants, bees, wasps),
and Diptera (true flies). Feeding bites have characteristics patterns and symptoms, a function of the feeding habits of the offending pest and the chemistry of its saliva.
Insect Bites Causes
Insects do not usually attack unless they are provoked. Most bites and stings are defensive. The insects sting to protect their hives or nests.
A sting or bite injects venom composed of proteins and other substances that may trigger an allergic reaction in the victim. The sting also causes redness and swelling at the site of the sting.
Bees, wasps, honets, yellow jackets, and fire ant are members of the Hymenoptera family.
Bites or sting from species may causes serious reactions in people who are allergic to them. Death from bee stings is 3-4 times more common than death from snake bites.
When a bee stings, it loses the entire injection apparatus (stinger) and actually dies it the process. A wasp can inflict multiple stings because it does not lose its injection apparatus after it stings. Fire ants inject their venom by using their mandibles (the biting parts of their jaw) and rotating their bodies. They may inject venom many times.
In contract, bites from mosquitoes typically do not cause significant illnesses, unless they convey “or microorganisms that actually live within these mosquitoes. For instance, malaria is caused by an organism that spends part of its life cycles in a particular species of mosquitoes. West Nile virus is another disease spread by a mosquito.
Lice can transmit epidemic relapsine fever, caused by spirochetes. Leishmaniasis, caused by the protozoam Leishmania, is carried by a sand fly. Sleeping sickness in humans and a group of cattle diseases that are widespread in Africa, known as nagana, are caused by protozoan trypanosomes transmitted by the bites of tsetse flies. In unsanitary conditions, the common housefly can play an incidental role in the spread of human intestinal infections (such as typhoid and bacillary and amebic dysentery) by contamination of human food.
Tularemia can be spread by deer fly bites, the bubonic plague by fleas, and the epidemic typhus rickettsia by lice. Various mosquitoes spread viral diseases (such as equine encephalitis; dengue and yellow fever in humans and other animals).
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses through their bites or stings. Serious bites from spiders, which are not insects, can from the black widow or brown recluse.
The diagnosis of a reaction to a bite or sting is usually obvious from the history. The doctor will perform a physical examination to look for effects of the bite or sting on various pars of the body, Examination of the skin, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and oral cavity are particularly important.
When to seek Medical Care (Counseling)
If you start to experience symptoms that are not just at the site of the sting (and you don’t have a history of severe reactions), seek medical attention. These symptoms (systemic symptoms affect the whole body) may progress to fatal anaphylactic shock.
Hives are the most common systemic symptom.They appear as irregular, raised, red blotchy areas on the skin and are very itchy. If hives are the only systemic symptom present, they are often treated at home with an antihistamine.
If the bite appears infected (redness with or without pus, warmth, fever, or red streak that spreads toward the body), see a your health care provider.
If you don’t know what bit you, it is important to keep watching the area closely to be sure it does not become infected. Call your health care provider if there is an open wound, which may suggest a poisonous spider bite.
People who have history of servere reactions should go to the nearest hospital’s emergency department after a bite or sting if they experience any symptoms.
Those who have no history of severe reactions should also go to the emergency department if they have any of the following symptoms: Wheezing of breath, tightness or pain, sensation of the throat closing or difficulty speaking or swallowing, faintness or weakness, infection (If the wound appears infected and you are not able to reach your health care provider, seek care at a hospital.)
- Self-Care at Home
- Treatment depends on the type of reaction. If there is only redness and pain at the site of the bite, application of ice is adequate treatment. Clean the area with soap and water to remove contaminated particles left behind by some insects itching at the site of the bite with an over-the-counter antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in cream or pill form. Calamine lotion also helps relive the itching.
- People who have a history of severe reactions to bites or stings may have been prescribed an anaphylaxis kit. The kit contains an epinephrine injector (you give yourself an injection), tourniquet, and an antihistamine. The kit should be used according to the health care provider’s instructions.
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), steroids (drugs in the cortisone family) are also usually given. Oral antibiotics may be given for infected bite wounds.
For seriously ill people, an IV will be started, oxygen given and a heart monitor used until the symptoms have improved.
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