Generally, insect bites are harmless although they sometimes can cause discomfort. Bees, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes and fleas sting or bite and the stings or bites may itch or hurt but once the initial pain goes away, the effects are usually minimal unless you have an allergic reaction to them.
However, insects can spread diseases. Some mosquitoes are known to spread West Nile virus, malaria and other known infections.
Insect bites and stings can occur whether you are indoors or outside, and their effects can be minor or severe. While most insect bites and stings can be treated at home, some may require a visit to the emergency room.
Don’t take insect bites and stings lightly! If you notice anything out of the ordinary, be sure to visit one of SignatureCare Emergency Center’s emergency rooms. Our board-certified physicians are ready to treat you 24/7, 365 days a year.
Types of Insect Bites and Stings
Bees and Wasps
Bees and wasps have stingers that inject venom when the insects feel threatened. A bee will lose its stinger after it has injected venom, and it will die shortly after. Wasps do not lose their stingers, and they can sting repeatedly. Bee and wasp stings are usually painful and can cause swelling, and they can cause severe reactions in people who are allergic to them.
See also: 7 Things You Should Bring to the Emergency Room.
Ants release venom through their mandibles, and their bites can sting and itch. Ant bites are not usually serious, but they can be uncomfortable.
Mosquitoes bite people because they are looking for food, and they will bite even if they are not threatened or angry. Mosquitoes carry disease, and their bites cause itching and swelling.
Fleas, ticks, and lice are parasites that live on and feed off of animals. People who have spent time outside or who have pets may get bitten by fleas or ticks, and head lice can spread easily through schoolrooms and families. Bites from fleas and lice may itch and cause red bumps. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, and they must be removed carefully in order to prevent infection.
Spiders and Scorpions
Spiders and scorpions are not insects, but their bites and stings are painful. Spider bites should be seen by a medical professional to ensure that the bite is not from a venomous spider. Most scorpions are not venomous, but their sting can cause swelling and pain. If a child is bitten by a spider or stung by a scorpion, he should see a doctor to prevent complications.
When to Visit Emergency Room for Insect Bites and Stings
If you have suffered an insect bite or sting, you should monitor yourself for any unusual reactions. If you think that you may be having an unusual or allergic reaction to the insect’s venom, contact or visit us one of our 24-hour emergency rooms in Houston, Sugar Land, Stafford, Austin or College Station, TX. See all our emergency room locations.
Pay attention if:
- The bite or sting is from a venomous spider or scorpion
- You experience confusion or difficulty breathing after you have been bitten or stung by an insect
- You have a severe allergic reaction to the bite or sting
Insect bites and stings may cause mild discomfort, and they can usually be treated at home. However, if you need a medical professional to examine your insect bite or sting, please visit one of our 24/7 emergency rooms.