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Identifying a Bug Bite: Common Types & Remedies for Each

Use our guide for identifying a bug bite, including the most common types and the different ways to treat them with our bug bite remedies.


Common Bug Bites & Their Reactions


Identifying bug bites can be challenging. Knowing the different symptoms can help distinguish the cause and guide treatment. 

Mosquito bites often appear as raised bumps that are red in color and can be accompanied by itching and mild swelling. Some people have only a mild reaction to mosquito bites. Other people react more strongly, and a large area of swelling, soreness, and redness can occur.

Flea bites typically form clusters of small, discolored bumps on the skin. Common symptoms include itchy and irritated skin, and a discolored ring may appear around the bite. Flea bites are commonly found on the ankles or lower legs.

Ticks are known for their potential to transmit diseases. A tick bite often looks like a small, red bump. Some people experience redness around the bite. If the redness expands gradually over several days resulting in a bull’s-eye appearance, it is important to seek medical care. The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses include fever/chills, aches and pains, and a rash. See a healthcare provider if you develop any of these symptoms. 

Spider bites can vary depending on the type of spider involved. Spider bites look similar to many other bug bites. They often present as a red, inflamed, sometimes itchy or painful bump on the skin. Symptoms associated with spider bites can vary from minor to severe. Bites from some spiders, such as the black widow or brown recluse, can cause more severe symptoms such as muscle pain or cramping, difficulty breathing, nausea/vomiting, or fever. If you suspect a spider bite from a venomous spider, it is vital to see a medical provider immediately.


Allergic Reactions: What to Look For


While most bug bites only result in minor irritation, some people may have an allergic reaction. Hives, excessive swelling beyond the immediate bite area, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat are signs of a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, see a medical provider  as soon as possible. An urgent care is a great choice to receive treatment. Most urgent cares, like American Family Care, don’t require an appointment and have extended hours for your convenience.


When to Seek Medical Attention


Besides an allergic reaction, another reason to seek medical attention after identifying a bug bite is if you think you have an infection. Symptoms of an infected bug bite include redness, swelling, warmth, or tenderness around the bite area, blisters, swollen lymph nodes, and yellow, pus-like discharge from the bite. In such cases, a healthcare provider may need to prescribe antibiotics. If a bug bite causes severe swelling that doesn’t improve with home remedies or if you experience persistent symptoms for an extended period, it’s wise to consult a medical professional.

What to do about a tick bite? If you’ve been bitten by a tick and develop symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, or a spreading rash, visit the doctor to rule out tick-borne illnesses.

Home Bug Bite Remedies


If you don’t have immediate access to medical care or don’t think your bite is so severe but you need some relief, there are several remedies you can try at home to alleviate the discomfort caused by bug bites:

  1. Apply ice or a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling and soothe itching.
  2. Apply calamine lotion, baking soda paste, or an over-the-counter antihistamine cream, such as hydrocortisone, to help relieve symptoms. 
  3. Take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to help reduce itching and allergic reactions.
  4. Clean the bite area with mild soap and water to prevent infection.

These remedies offer temporary relief and may not address underlying allergic reactions or infections. If your symptoms persist or worsen, seeking medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial.


Visit American Family Care


Worried about infection from your bug bite? Visit your local AFC clinic. No appointment is needed, and we offer extended hours so you can come in before or after work or on the weekends. Find a location near you.

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