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Bug Bites and Allergies: Signs, Treatment, and Prevention

Certain people prove to be more attractive to bugs, while there are others spared from their vendetta. Why is this so? Several factors make you appealing to these biters, mainly the most common nuisance of all—mosquitoes. If you are a magnet to any insects anywhere you go, from your yard to an outdoor picnic, then most likely, you have what they’re looking after.

Insects, especially mosquitoes, draw near to anywhere with high carbon dioxide levels. That means you’re more prone to mosquito bites after exercising. You may also have a body odor rich in compounds such as ammonia and lactic acid. Another thing is that if you have a close relative who is a magnet to these bugs, then most likely you also are because body odors are proven to be genetic.

It can also come as a surprise to you that when you drink alcohol, you’re increasing your chances of being bug-attractive. Studies have shown that people who have had a drink of beer become more attractive to mosquitoes. And they learn too! Mosquitoes take note of the people who gave them a hearty meal.

Only female mosquitoes bite, and when they do, even if you’re appealing to them or not, you’ll get a bite or two. Bugs will do their job—to bite. Less harmful biters include ticks, fleas, lice, mites, bedbugs, chiggers, most mosquitoes, some biting ants and flies, and some non-poisonous spiders.

Watch out for some spiders like black widows or brown recluse spiders, hornets, wasps, bees, scorpions, and fire ants, as their bite may result in mild to severe reactions. Note the bites are not necessarily the problem, but they can transmit infectious agents like viruses, parasites, and bacteria.

General Symptoms of Bug Bites and What to Do for Mild Reactions

When it’s nothing serious, you may just experience mild burning, itching, redness, and localized pain, minor swelling, or pain, which can last for a few days and fade by themselves.

These mild symptoms can be treated by simple solutions. If you get a sting or a bite somewhere, stay away from the place and check what insect bit you. If you can, you can kill the bug to identify if it’s the one that bit you. If you have identified so and its stinger remained in your skin, remove it. You may brush, scrape, or pull it out using tape, tweezers, fine brushes, and even credit cards since stingers don’t usually go deeper down your skin.

Next, wash the bitten site with water and soap. To reduce the swelling and pain, you can use a cool compress in ice in a cloth or dampened with cold water. Over-the-counter medications can significantly help to decrease the pain, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Itching may persist. You can treat this by mixing soda and water and then applying the mixture to the area. Other itching remedies include creams or lotions that consist of lidocaine or hydrocortisone. These ingredients can significantly help reduce the pain and itching. Other than topical treatment, you can also use over-the-counter oral medications that contain diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to decrease itching.

To alleviate the symptoms, you can also opt for natural home remedies such as oatmeal, tea tree oil, fresh-cut onion, lavender oil, or toothpaste. They can work for some people, but you better stick to the treatments above if they don’t work for you.

What to Do When Someone Has Allergies After a Bug Bite

Most of the time, people just get mild symptoms from the bite; unfortunately, others develop allergic reactions. There are several signs to look out for that signifies the person will need immediate medical attention.

The person may experience swelling of the tongue, lips, or throat, confusion, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and hives. If you see any of these symptoms, an Epipen injection can help. You can also tighten their clothing as you wait for the emergency medical team to arrive.

Prevention Is Better Than Treatment

Prevent the bugs from biting through the following:

  • Insect repellent: Choose any that has 20 to 30 percent DEET and apply it to the exposed clothing and skin. If you use sunscreen, let it dry first before applying the repellent. Don’t choose repellent sunscreens since sunscreens are applied liberally while repellents should only be used sparingly.
  • Mosquito traps: Another way to get rid of mosquitoes is by using traps. It would be best to purchase mosquito attractants because they can effectively lure the insects into the deadly traps.
  • Proper clothing: If you’re going outdoors, wear covered clothes such as long-sleeved shirts and pants. You can also treat your clothes with repellents that have Premethrin. Dry them two hours before wearing them for additional safety.

Bed nets: Use bed nets if you sleep outdoors, preferably those that are pre-treated with pyrethroid insecticide.


Be safe from bugs by securing insect repellents before going out, especially if you notice you are a natural attractant. If these nuisances persist in your home, make sure you get rid of them.

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