Treating Stings and Bug Bites
If you spend time outdoors, stings and bug bites are common (and sometimes painful) occurrences. Whether you’re deep in the woods or in your own backyard, insects like bees, wasps, mosquitos, ticks, and spiders can sting or bite you anytime.
Here in Florida, many insects thrive in our hot, humid weather. But there’s no need to bug out – MD Now urgent care is here to help. Keep reading to learn how to identify various types of stings and bites (including bee stings, wasp stings, and spider bites), when to seek insect bite treatment, and how to avoid insect bites altogether.
Most stings and bug bites are minor, but some can be life-threatening or even deadly – especially if you have a severe allergic reaction. For fast, high-quality insect bite treatment, visit the physician-led team of healthcare professionals at MD Now today.
The Difference Between a Bite and a Sting
We know they both can hurt, but what’s the difference between a bite and a sting?
A bite is when an insect uses its mouth to break your skin, usually to feed. A sting is when an insect uses one of its body parts (such as its stinger) to pierce your skin and inject venom. Usually, stings are more painful than bites.
How to Identify Stings and Bug Bites
Wondering what type of insect got you? These guidelines can help you identify the culprit.
Bee Stings and Wasp Stings
Bees (the fuzzy flying insects that feed on flowers) and wasps (which are smoother and skinnier than bees) both sting when they feel threatened. Wasps can be especially aggressive and are capable of stinging you multiple times.
Symptoms of bee stings and wasp stings include immediate pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site. The area may also itch or feel warm to the touch. If the bee or wasp leaves its stinger lodged in your skin, your reaction may be more severe.
You’ve probably heard the joke that mosquitos are the state bird of Florida. And it’s told for good reason – there are over 80 species of mosquitos in Florida, all of whom enjoy hot, humid weather.
All jokes aside, mosquito bites have the potential to be dangerous. Infected mosquitos can spread a variety of diseases, including malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and more. All it takes is a new bite to transmit the disease to someone else.
Mosquitos are most active during dusk and dawn. Soon after you are bitten, a small, round, puffy bump will appear on your skin. The bump will swell and become red, hard, and itchy. Most people get multiple bites in the same area.
Ticks look like insects, but they’re not – they belong to the arachnid family, along with spiders and scorpions. Like mosquitos, ticks can transmit diseases to others, including Lyme disease.
Tick bites tend to occur while hiking, camping, gardening, or walking through tall grass or bushes where ticks are present. When a tick bites you, it attaches itself to your skin to suck your blood – and then stays there. You likely won’t feel the tick bite when it happens. But over time, you may experience pain or swelling, develop a rash or blisters, or have difficulty breathing.
Most spider bites are harmless. However, bites from venomous spiders (such as the brown recluse or black widow) can cause symptoms like pain, swelling, redness, itching, muscle cramps or spasms, fever, headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, joint pain or stiffness, or difficulty breathing.
A brown recluse spider is tan-colored with a violin-shaped patch and six eyes (two in front and two sets on either side of its head). A black widow spider is black and shiny with a red, hourglass-shaped mark on its abdomen.
Spider bites typically appear as two small puncture marks, with a raised white blister in the middle. Like bee stings and wasp stings, severe reactions to a spider bite may require prompt medical attention.
How to Avoid Insect Bites and Stings
Many insects bite or sting if they feel threatened, so one of the best ways to avoid insect bites is to leave them alone.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself and your family from bites and stings:
- Use insect repellent when spending time outdoors (and don’t forget to reapply after swimming). Repellents that contain 10-30% DEET are approved for mosquitos, ticks, and other bugs.
- Never walk barefoot on grass.
- Wear gloves while gardening.
- Stay away from ponds, creeks, puddles, and other standing water where mosquitoes breed.
- When in wooded areas, stay as covered up as possible and thoroughly check for ticks afterward.
- Do not disturb bee or wasp nests.
- Watch for spiders in undisturbed wood piles or dark, damp places in your home.
When to Seek Insect Bite Treatment
The majority of bites and stings can be treated at home, as long as your reaction is mild. Remove the stinger if it’s still lodged in your skin. Then wash the affected area, and apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-itch creams, and antihistamines may also provide relief.
Visit MD Now or your nearest emergency room right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Swelling of your lips, tongue, or throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
MD Now Treats Stings, Bug Bites, and So Much More
Stings, bug bites, and other unexpected events can’t always wait for a doctor’s appointment. You can trust MD Now to provide high-quality care for just about any minor illness or injury, including those caused by tiny creatures that buzz and bite. No appointment is necessary—just walk in.
About MD Now® Urgent Care
MD Now urgent care is Florida’s largest urgent care operator with more than 110 state-of-the-art clinics conveniently located across Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, and Seminole Counties. MD Now urgent care’s physician-led team of healthcare professionals provides high-quality healthcare through a comprehensive lineup of urgent care, preventative healthcare, and occupational health services during convenient hours. MD Now urgent care is proud to be affiliated with HCA Florida H