Insect Bites

OUCH! Darn mosquitoes! Backyard fun is often hindered by flying nasties, or creepy-crawlies. Mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, spiders (technically not an insect but rather an arachnid), bees – and in some states scorpions – even innocent looking moths can cause anything from irritation to death! Most of the time they are a mere nuisance, but for some people that may have allergies to them; insect bites can be outright dangerous!

Sure, other parts of the world have more dangerous and deadly insects, but here in The United States we have our fair share. In recent years mosquitoes have been carrying West Nile virus in many parts of the country. They carry malaria in other parts of the world but I don”t think we have to worry about that here, do we? But guess what? The CDC was begun in 1946 as an agency to control malaria in The United States, and malaria became virtually non-existent by the early 1950″s.

Ticks are a growing threat

Ticks! Blech! What are they good for? Nothing, but they are still here. Ticks are known to carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection (Borrelia burgdorferi , AKA, B. burgdorferi), spread by the bite of a black-legged tick. Most people bitten by ticks aren”t infected- but if you are- early symptoms can be flu-like.

If it goes un-noticed and untreated, symptoms may include:

  • Paralysis, or weakness in the muscles of the face
  • Muscle pain and/or pain and swelling of the knees and other large joints
  • Heart problems like palpitations
  • Abnormal muscle movement
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Speech problems

These symptoms may occur months or even years after infection. Complications caused by advanced Lyme disease are severe and include:

  • Decreased concentration
  • Memory disorders
  • Nerve damage
  • Pain
  • Sleep disorders
  • Vision problems

Signs that you may have been bitten by an infected tick are that if bitten, you develop a ” “bullseye”  rash in the bite area. If this happens you should see a doctor immediately and have blood work done to test for the bacteria that causes the disease.

Lyme disease isn”t the only thing to worry about when it comes to insect bites; there are many dangerous insects out there. It doesn”t have to be a bite. Bee and wasp stings account for fewer deaths per year in The United States than lightening. But to someone that is allergic to bee or wasp venom, the danger is very real.

Be prepared

If someone allergic is stung, the venom causes their airway to close off and the literally suffocate. It is always wise to keep some Benadryl   (diphenhydramine) capsules handy in case someone is stung. Whether they are allergic or not, this will reduce the effects. If someone IS allergic, Benadryl may not be enough. Severely allergic persons will need to be hit with an Epi-pen , which is an auto-injector device that injects epinephrine into victims of allergic reaction to stings or shellfish.

To help prevent stings or bites when going outdoors to work or play, it is wise to take precautionary measures and use an insect repellant such as OFF! Insect Repellant. Skin So Soft is also an excellent insect repellant that is very effective. No matter what you choose, it is wise to use something to prevent bites and stings when you will be outdoors and at risk.


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