Insect bites itch is symptoms that develops on experiencing insect stings or bites. Insects usually bite when they are agitated and try to seek protection through its defense mechanism. Another situation when insects bite is to feed on the bitten person. Some insects insert formic acid which may lead to reactions of the skin. In some cases some insect sting may result in fatal allergic reactions. Arthropods are insects found highly on land and have 6 legs. There are around 5 to 10 million existing species of anthropoids and majority of insect bites are attributed to them. Some of such insects are beetles, moths and butterflies, wasps, bees, true flies and ants etc.
Insect bites often cause swelling and redness of the punctured region. Bees, ants and wasps stings are usually accompanied with pain along with some redness and can also lead to allergic reaction. The most serious case of insect bite can lead to anaphylaxis. Bites from fleas as well as mosquitoes may cause serious itching and pain. Reaction to insect bites usually persists for over a few days. In some serious cases the resulted symptoms may last for around two years. Insect bite itch is sometime misdiagnosed with benign or even cancerous lesions.
Causes of Insect bites
Insect do not bite unless they feel threatened and are provoked. Bites are result of a defensive action by the insect. During the bite some insect also injects venom which are made of protein as well as other substances. This may trigger allergic reaction in the affected victim. Redness and swelling are common symptoms of the occurrence.
Bites from species from the Hymenoptera family may cause serious reaction. This class includes species such as fire ants, hornets, wasps and bees etc. It is also recorded that death from bee stings are more common as compared to rate of death caused due to snake bite. Inevitably bites from insect are extremely common.
There are different ways in which these species inflict injury to human. When a bee stings it releases the entire stinging apparatus at the bitten spot and also loses its life in the process. On the other hand wasps can sting several times. Using mandibles the fire-ant can injects its venom into the punctured skin area and it also rotates its body perhaps to release the venom. Fire-ant can also insert their venom several times. Generally mosquito bites does not cause several illness but they may lead to moderately fatal diseases if they transmit vectors or other micro organisms that dwell within the mosquito. Some of the common diseases that are caused due to mosquito bite include malaria, West-Nile virus infection etc.
Insect bite itch can also be experienced due to bites from various other insects such as sand-fly bite which often causes Leishmaniasis, lice can cause severe relapsing fever, etc. Housefly may also contribute to cause conditions such as typhoid, dysentery and other human intestinal infections. Tsetse flies can transmit trypanosome protozoan which may lead to sleeping sickness and cattle diseases.
Insect bite itch and other symptoms
Insect bite itch is one of the most common symptoms experienced by bitten individuals. There are also other signs that may accompany itchiness, mostly in case wherein venom is inflicted along with bite. The venom may sometimes stimulate allergic reaction. The intensity of the reaction and associated symptoms may depend on sensitivity to the venom or other substances injected. In majority of cases body’s response to the insect bite is mild and benign which may cause no reaction or symptoms as mild as temporary pain and bumps. Delayed response may cause symptoms such as fever, glands swelling, stinging sensation, etc. Itching is symptom which is experienced in mild to severe cases. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Swollen face
- Respiratory difficulties
- Pain in stomach
- Affected circulation and blood pressure
Things to do when you are bitten
The first thing that you should do is notice how the insect that bit you appears. Take note of distinct characteristics such as any pattern or design on its body, how many legs it had or does it have wings, etc. Record how the bitten spot appears. Ensure that you are not suffering from any immediate health changes, if in case you are experiencing health anomaly such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, respiratory difficulties, etc, then call for emergency medical help.
If you are not experiencing any immediate serious symptoms then go for first-aid procedures. Start with removing the stinger if it is still injected. Wash the punctured area with soap and water. If you have swelling or pain then using ice-packs can provide relief. If natural remedies do not help, then using pain relieving medicines (either prescription or over-the-counter drugs) may be beneficial. There are also topical creams available that can relieve insect bite itch and pain. In serious cases the best option is to consult a doctor.
Insect bite identification and pictures
Here are some common insect bites and ways to identify them
- Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bite is most feared for diseases like dengue and malaria. The swelling reaction occurs due to the reaction of the skin to mosquito’s saliva. The bites are especially in the form of red rashes, that are itchy with swelling and blister formation.
- Ant Bites
The bites from an ant are in the form of bumps on the skin, with an itchy, burning sensation. The symptoms do subside in a few day. Fire-ant bites are however, different compared to a regular ant-bite. In the former, the bite can progress into a painful lesion, filled with pus.
- Flea Bite
Flea bite is recognized by little, reddish nodules formed in the region of the bite. People who have an allergic skin, can develop severe itching. Persistent itching is a common symptom in case of flea bites on humans.
- Tick bite
The bite in this case is bright red with a darker shade in the center. Usually, you may even see that the tick clinging to your skin, in the bitten area. Do not pull it because the head may be stuck below the skin.