nsect bites often cause one or more red bumps that are usually itchy and sometimes painful. Often there's a small hole in the middle of the bite, perhaps with the end of the sting sticking out. Apart from this local irritation, the bite is not usually dangerous provided the victim is not allergic to insect bites. Bee and wasp stings are more likely to cause allergic reactions than other kinds of insect bites. |
What are the sources of insect bites? The sources of insect bites are recognised to be wide and varied. Insects, such as fleas can be found on domestic pets, eg dogs and cats; and also on birds. Bedding and other soft furnishings around the house can also harbour bed bugs and fleas. About 95 per cent of the fleas on a pet will be in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae (ie in the household) rather than on the animal. Simply working in your garden can expose you to fleas and other insects. Travelling can also put you at risk. Depending on your destination â€“ exposure to mosquitoes, ticks and sandflies can occur.
Which insects cause stings or bites? Stings or bites are caused by midges, gnats, horseflies, bees, wasps, ants, some spiders, fleas, lice, etc. Wasp stings cause the most allergic reactions in the UK. One or more stings, over a period of time, may be required from a particular insect to sensitise your immune system and cause an allergic reaction. Twenty per cent of people who have experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting or bite will have milder or no reaction the next time they are stung or bitten by the same type of insect. Therefore, it's impossible to predict the outcome of the next sting for any individual. If you're sensitised to wasp venom, it's unlikely that you'll suffer the same response to bee venom.
What are the symptoms of insect bites? The skin becomes red, swollen, itchy and can be painful. These are the most common symptoms. Sometimes bites cause an allergic reaction. Bites can become infected by scratching. Look out for a rash or swelling that gets worse instead of better. If this happens, see a doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms: the person has been stung by many insects at the same time a rash or swelling that gets worse instead of better if the site is red, tender and swollen headache dizziness nausea (feeling sick) pains in the chest choking or wheezing difficulty breathing. These may be symptoms of allergy and can be life-threatening if the victim goes into shock. See a doctor immediately or dial 999 for an ambulance.
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