When Should You Seek Emergency Room For A Bug Bite
With summer in full swing, there is no shortage of insects buzzing around. While most of these are just nuisances, some can be dangerous. Certain insect bites and stings can lead to serious complications, allergic reactions, and even death if not treated properly.
Fortunately, most insect bites and stings can be treated at home. However, not all of them can. Those living in areas where insects are common should learn to spot the signs of different types of bites and the symptoms they can cause. Doing so will help you decide if the bite can be treated at home, or if an emergency room visit is necessary.
Different Types of Bites and Stings
There are countless insects that can bite or sting. However, almost all of these are non-threatening and will quickly clear on their own, with the only symptom being some minor itching. However, there are a few types that can be dangerous to humans.
Animal bites can happen without warning and may seem insignificant but they can quickly become infected if not treated immediately.
These are a few of the most common insect bites and stings that you should be aware of:
- Bees: Bees are great for pollinating, but their sting can be painful. Their sting won’t be missed when it happens. Typically, it will be followed by a painful, red, swollen bite. For those who are allergic to it, it can be deadly. However, those with an allergy may experience trouble breathing, mouth or throat swelling, hives, nausea, and severe itching.
- Mosquitos: Almost everyone has been bitten by a mosquito. These pesky bloodsuckers are a nuisance in almost every part of the country. While the mass majority of mosquito bites are harmless, the insect is a carrier for dangerous diseases like West Nile Virus and Zika. Anyone bitten by a mosquito who experiences nausea, fever, swollen lymph nodes, a rash, or a prolonged headache should visit the emergency room.
- Spiders: While a spider bite is more dangerous than a mosquito bite, most species won’t bite humans. Of those that do, only the black widow and brown recluse are prevalent in the United States. A black widow, which bears a distinct red hourglass on its black body, can cause blood pressure spikes and seizures that require emergency treatment. Meanwhile, the brown recluse’s bite mainly affects the skin. It looks like a red bullseye before turning black and blistering. A bite by either type of spider requires emergency care. Otherwise, it is likely harmless unless fever, chills, or nausea follow a spider bite. Just don’t expect any superpowers from it.
- Ticks: A tick bite is different from most other insects because it actually attaches itself to the skin. While the bite itself isn’t dangerous, ticks carry Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. You should seek medical care if a rash, fever, or muscle aches follow a tick bite. Checking in after a tick bite isn’t a bad idea, even if these symptoms don't appear. If you can’t easily get the tick out on your own, you should also seek care since only removing part of the insect can cause more problems.
- Fire ants: Ant bites are some of the most painful in the insect world. Fire ants specifically carry a toxin that leaves behind red, blistering marks. They also tend to latch on to a victim and bite several times. While one sting isn’t a big deal, a cluster of bites in a short time allows the toxin to build up. This can lead to allergic reaction symptoms like difficulty breathing, dizziness, and hives.
Symptoms to Watch For
Babies and children are more vulnerable than adults are, although everyone should be aware of the danger symptoms to watch out for following any bites or stings:
- Coughing or Wheezing.
- Swelling around the eyes, tongue, lips, throat, hands or feet.
- Feeling sick or nauseous, diarrhea, or stomach cramps
- Going into shock
Red lumps and bumps, soreness, itching, and tenderness at the sting site are all common reactions that can be safely treated at home. If any other symptoms develop over hours, days or even weeks in some cases, you should get emergency care medical help.
When to Go to the Emergency Room
Some of the worst but bites and stings may present an immediate life-threatening danger for which you should go to the ER. These reactions are likely to occur between the bite itself and one hour post-contact and include one or more of the following symptoms.
- Difficulty breathing
- A throat-closing sensation
- Wheezing, hoarseness, or trouble speaking
- Swollen lips, tongue, or face
- Chest pain
- Stiff neck (can’t touch chin to chest)
- A racing heartbeat that outlasts the initial adrenaline
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms represent a range of dangerous reactions such as anaphylaxis, cellulitis, and lymphangitis. However, the indicators are not always evident, and they may take time to develop into a serious-looking condition. Generally, an allergic reaction is an emergency if it happens in two or more of the following body systems: skin, digestive system, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system. For example, if you feel slight throat tightness (respiratory system) with a rapid heartbeat (cardiovascular system), you should go to the nearest emergency room.
You can find ER of Texas top-rated emergency rooms in Highland Village, Little Elm, Frisco, Hurst, Colleyville, Texoma, Hillcrest, Uptown, Mansfield, and surrounding communities.
If you suspect bug bites emergency, visit us at ER of Texas Emergency Center. Our ER doctors are top-rated, board-certified and available 24 hours a day. We accept walk-ins – No appointment is needed.