Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

There Are Numerous Treatments for Annoying Insect Bites ; EVANSVILLE'S DR. MOM

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

There Are Numerous Treatments for Annoying Insect Bites ; EVANSVILLE'S DR. MOM

Article excerpt

I am one of those people who just never got the appeal of camping. First, it generally involves spending time outdoors, in nature, which means dirt, bugs, unpredictable weather, bugs, furry little critters with sharp pointy teeth, and in case I didn't mention it, bugs. I do enjoy campfire food, but now that I am the mom, I would be the one to prepare it, which pretty much sucks all the joy out of that.

I also have watched enough movies to know that many deranged psycho killers wearing hockey masks and ghoulish zombies got their start at campgrounds. I have never treated a patient for a zombie bite, although sadly I must admit that I actually have put some thought into that possibility and am fully prepared for it. But I do have a lot of experience in treating bug bites.

Insect bites are annoying but, fortunately, they usually are not a serious health concern. (I am focusing on those pesky bugs that bite with their mouthparts, such as mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and gnats, as opposed to the stinging insects such as bees and wasps, that present a slightly different set of problems.)

Children can have variable reactions to the same bug, based on their age and sensitivity to the specific insect. A typical bug bite causes a small red bump, sometimes with a blister or pimple- like lesion in the center. The area around the bump can become irritated, red and itchy.

Most biting insects are nonvenomous, and the reaction is caused by the victim's immune response to the bug's saliva. Reactions can be immediate or delayed for several hours to days. Some crafty little insects even have a mild anesthetic in their secretions that prevents the victim from realizing he has been bitten.

Some people are clearly more sensitive to bug bites than others and can have large local reactions. (True allergies to insect bites are rather rare, however, and create a systemic reaction that may include GI symptoms such as vomiting and/or respiratory symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath.)

Adults tend to develop a tolerance to insect bites as they age, which explains why children, especially younger children who have not been sensitized through repeated exposure, can develop such large skin lesions in response to a bite. …

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