When does a bug bite become serious?

Most times you get bitten by a bug, it’s an annoyance, but nothing you can’t deal with. But occasionally, the bite takes a turn for the worse. How do you know if a bite requires medical treatment, or a home remedy?

This article on Huffington Post answers the question:

When does a bug bite require serious medical attention?

The Answer: Sometimes that pesky mosquito bite just needs a little hydrocortisone cream and time to heal. But occasionally, it’s not so simple.

While most bug bites and stings are harmless, some can be dangerousif not treated properly — especially if you have an undiagnosed allergy to a particular bug venom or if that bug is a disease carrier.

The summer months seem to be stocked with extra critters crawling and buzzing around us, upping the chances that you, a friend or a family member might need a dermatologist’s expertise. Here’s how the experts determine the difference between a nuisance and a health concern that requires attention.

One of the first steps to differentiating between a minor and serious bug bite or sting is to work through some of the key symptoms. “Significant pain, swelling, and bruising are all signs that a bite may be serious,” said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist and assistant professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “Swelling that is spreading significantly beyond the initial bite may also be a sign of a serious issue.”

Of course, in extreme instances, a bug bite reaction can be grave enough to result in an ER visit. Dr. Margaret Parsons, a dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis, advises people to pay attention to symptoms like the sensation that your throat is closing, chest pain, a persistent racing heartbeat, dizziness and vomiting, and head to the emergency room if you experience any of them.


Read on for information about Tick bites, Mosquitos (and what they can carry), plus a video of when to see a dermatologist.

Treatment for bug bites that don’t fall into the emergency room-worthy category can run the gamut from topical ointments or an over-the-counter antihistamines to more aggressive treatments, such as antibiotics, anti-allergy medications, or even skin debridement, which is the medical removal of dead, damaged or infected skin to promote the healing of surrounding healthy skin, according to Dr. Zeichner. Debridement is only necessary if the bite or sting has turned into an open wound in which necrotic (dead) or ischemic (low oxygen content) tissue is preventing it from closing and healing properly. Necrotic tissue can also promote bacteria growth, which leads to further inflammation and increases risk of infection. You’ll need to see a doctor to determine if debridement is a viable treatment plan for you and, if so, which type.

For the full article, see HuffingtonPost.


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