When an insect bites, it uses its mouth parts. Biting insects can transfer blood from other people or animals they’ve bitten to you. This means they can infect you with diseases or illnesses others have. Mosquitoes, for example, can transfer malaria.
Stinging insects use a special “stinger” that’s on the back of its body. Sting insects, including bees, wasps, and fire ants do not transfer any diseases. However, they can inject venom into the skin which can lead to a local reaction or irritation to the skin. Most people get the following reaction:
If a stinger is noted in the skin, it should be removed immediately. If a fire ant is noted on the skin, immediately try to slap it with your hand to kill it immediately. Do not itch or scratch the area where the bite occurred. Place a cold compress or ice at the site of the bite. Try an over the counter antihistamine like Benadryl or diphenhydramine to prevent progression of the reaction.
Some reactions can be very deadly to those who are severely allergic to the insect venom. Please call a healthcare provider to determine if you need any prescription treatment.
To avoid stings or bites:
- Wear full sleeve tops, long pants, and shoes.
- Wear bug spray.
- Stay indoors around dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Therefore, drain any standing water near your residence, including buckets and wading pools.
- If you see an insect nest outside your home, call local pest-control to get rid of the nest safely.
- Keep all food and drinks covered when outside