Insect bites are lacerations or punctures in the skin from where an insect has bitten you. The wounds depend on the type of insect – mosquitos, gnats, ticks, spiders, bedbugs and fleas are more common.
Swelling, itching, rashes, redness in the area, pain, numbness, tingling are all symptoms of an insect bite – some or all will be present depending on the type of insect.In more severe cases (seek immediate medical attention), muscle spasms, fever, shortness of breath etc. may be observed.
Insects typically bite to feed or in self-defense. If you are outdoors hiking or camping, it is best to understand what kind of insects you might be exposed to, and take precautions accordingly.
For minor bites, you can treat them at home by using topical anti-itch creams and painkillers to relieve discomfort, or ice the area to reduce the pain and swelling. If you know what bit you and it is known to be poisonous (like the brown recluse or black widow spider, or a scorpion!), seek emergency help immediately regardless of whether symptoms develop.
‘Ask Gogodoc About’ is an educational series providing information on various symptoms, pains, and disorders. (*intended for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms, please reach out to book an online video consultation with a Gogodoc GP. Our NHS-registered GPs can speak to you via video call to provide expert medical advice and get you the right prescriptions and referrals.)