Children Magnifying Glass Bugs

Brace Yourself For Bug Bites


During the summer months, we often spend more time outside enjoying the warm weather. But serious insect bites and stings can quickly turn your day around for the worst. Bug bites and stings are often mild and only produce minor skin irritation. However, certain insects can trigger a toxic or allergic reaction that requires emergency medical attention. Children tend to be more dangerously affected by insect bites and stings than adults. Staying informed will allow you to recognize the signs of a dangerous reaction.

What Is A Toxic Reaction?

A toxic reaction occurs when the body is exposed to a poison. Signs that an insect’s venom may have caused a toxic reaction include:

  • Rapid swelling of the bite or sting location
  • Fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness, drowsiness, or weakness
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of consciousness

Call 911 or visit your nearest emergency center if you suspect you are having a toxic reaction or other medical emergency.

What Cause Toxic Reactions

Venom from the following insects can cause dangerous toxic reactions:

  • Black widow spider
  • Scorpion
  • Brown recluse spider
  • Puss caterpillar

Multiple bug bites or stings from the following insects can also cause dangerous toxic reactions:

  • Fire ants
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Yellow jackets
  • Hornets

Should You Go To The ER?

If you are allergic to any bug bites or stings and are having a breathing-inhibiting allergic reaction, inject yourself with epinephrine and go to the nearest emergency center or call 911. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek emergency medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the throat, lips, tongue, eyelids, ears, hands, feet, or mucous membranes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Large skin reaction with redness spreading away from the bite/sting location
  • A toxic reaction

The site of the bite or sting also has the potential to become infected and may need medical care. If the location of the bite or sting increases in pain or swelling, has red streaks leading away from it, has pus drainage, or you have a fever, the bite or sting may have become infected.

If someone is suffering from dangerous insect bites or stings, call 911 or visit an emergency department. St. Luke’s Health emergency departments are always ready to help in an emergency. Find your nearest location so you know where to go when minutes matter.

Sources:
Insect Stings
Insect Bites
Allergen: Insect Stings
Insect Stings in Children
Bites and Stings: Insects
How Much Do You Know About Stinging Insects?
Insect Stings and Allergic Reactions

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