A woman with a bug bite on her arm.
Healthy Living

Bug Bites 101: How to Stay Safe this Summer

Jul 22 2021

Summertime has arrived and, like every year, it has brought us opportunities to venture outside and enjoy nature. Playing in the yard, hanging by the pool and grilling out with loved ones are all staples of a successful, enjoyable summer.

However, when we step outside the doors of our homes, we enter the home of bugs and insects. While these creatures often go unnoticed, we sometimes cross paths which results in bites. We have all experienced the uncomfortable sensation of a mosquito bite, but what happens when the itch becomes something more?

Often it can be difficult to immediately identify what kind of bug bites you have. Therefore, it’s important to consider the signs and symptoms of severe bug bites so you can seek medical attention if needed.

Benjamin Brocker, MD, a family medicine physician at Mercy Health – Youngstown, shares three action steps to take after getting a bug bite.

First, evaluate your immediate symptoms.

“If you start to develop symptoms of fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness or dizziness, these could be symptoms of the bite causing cellulitis,” Dr. Brocker says. “This is dangerous because it can in turn cause you to become septic.”

These symptoms may appear immediately or gradually over time. Once you become aware of these symptoms, it is important to receive further medical attention so you can recover quickly and safely.

Also, look for a rash.

An itching sensation is common with many different bug bites. While a little itch is not immediately a cause for concern, it is important to monitor the area for a rash.

A rash resulting from a bug bite might be a symptom of a more serious issue. If a rash develops, it is important to see a medical professional for treatment.

“If a patient starts developing a rash around the bug bite or on their whole body, this could indicate the bug they were bit by was a tick. They would then need antibiotics for treatment,” Dr. Brocker shares.

And finally, monitor the bite.

Dr. Brocker says, “if your bug bite is not improving or worsening, meaning the redness of the site is not improving or worsening or if the tenderness of the area is not improving or worsening, then you should consult with medical professional.”

Again, while most bug bites are no cause for concern, it is important to use these three action steps to avoid any serious issues that could derail your summer plans.

Learn about the primary care services we offer at Mercy Health.

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