How to Recognize & Treat Insect Bites

Insect bites are bothersome to most people – but in some instances they may cause illness, such as Lyme’s disease from deer ticks or an allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis from a bee sting. While you won’t find many of these bugs on your daily commute (thank goodness!), with the summer travel season upon us it is good to be prepared.


The first step to treating an insect bite is identifying which insect bit you.

There are some basic ways to determine the kind of bug bite you have just by examining it. Here are some of the most common bites and what to look for :


Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are usually round and pink. They leave a raised bump and itch!


Bed Bugs

Bed bugs don’t hurt when they bite, but many people will see raised, red skin bumps that itch or burn. They could remain for several days.



Most spiders are not poisonous, but a bite can be painful and leave swelling, redness around the bite area, or leave a small sore. People who are allergic to spider bites may experience vomiting, muscle pain, stomach or back cramps or even difficulty breathing.


Brown Recluse Spider Bites

Brown recluse spider bites are poisonous. Some people feel a little pain right away and others may not feel anything for a few hours. The bite develops a bluish-purple blister. Seek medical attention immediately.



Some ticks carry Lyme disease or Rocky Mounted spotted fever. If you develop rings on your skin along with a fever, headaches, muscle or joint aches and an irregular heartbeat, seek medical help.


Flea Bites

These bites are small, reddish bumps that may bleed or lead to hives. They usually come in threes or fours and are common around the ankles, armpits and the waist.


Bee Stings

There is typically a sharp pain associated with a bee sting followed redness, swelling and a sore. It may also itch for a while or feel hot. People with a known allergy should seek medical attention.



Lice leave tiny red spots on the neck, shoulders, and scalp and itch a lot. Scratching the spots may open them up to an infection. If this occurs, see a doctor.


Ant Bites

Some ants are venomous, but most are harmless. Fire ants will leave a burning sensation followed by a sharp pain that develops into a blister or pus-filled bump. It may itch, turn red and swell.



Mite bites leave red welts. After about 10-12 hours the itch mite bites turn into what look like pimples and become very itchy.



These bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.


To relieve pain, itching, or swelling for a bite or sting – apply an ice pack for 15 or 20 minutes once an hour for the first six hours. Elevate the sting or bite and take an antihistamine. Hydrocortisone can be used to reduce itchiness or redness. If you or one of your children develop an allergic reaction, contact Sickday for a house call for immediate medical attention.