Health Watch - Biting: Bug Bites

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about a variety of bites and what you can do about them. Warm summer weather means both you and bugs are more active. That means you’re more likely to be bitten by something when you’re outdoors.

Mosquitoes and chiggers are the most common sources of bug bites in the summer, and you can ease the itchy discomfort they cause with over-the-counter remedies – either an antihistamine or a hydrocortisone cream. Ant, wasp or bee stings or spider or tick bites can be more severe. Those who are allergic to such stings should carry an EpiPen, and you should seek treatment if you have reactions like swelling, hives or difficulty breathing. Dr. Robin Carder, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says itching and a little redness and swelling are normal with a bug bite, but tenderness could be a sign of infection. Other possible signs of infection include redness that spreads beyond the bite, draining pus or the bite getting worse instead of better with time.

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July 2011

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