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Common Summer Bug Bites

01 Common Summer Bug Bites R01

Reviewed by: Amy Hinshaw

The summer season is popular for outdoor fun and play for all ages. Summer is also a notorious time for insects to make their way into backyards, hiking trails and dozens of other spaces you and your family soak in the sun. 

Bug bites are uncomfortable and sometimes painful for those who explore the outdoors without the proper protection. Taking the necessary precautions can prevent itchy, swelling bumps on the skin’s surface and can also help avoid catching diseases carried by insects. 

Learn to identify common summer bug bites, remedies for treating the area and prevention methods to make your summer easier and pain-free. 

What Insects Will You See This Summer?

A few insects you may encounter this summer are ticks, mosquitos, horse flies, fleas and bees. Although most of these little bugs help maintain the life cycle for many plants and other insects in our ecosystem, they can become a hassle to avoid for humans who enjoy spending time outdoors. 

Identifying Types of Bug Bites

Bug bites can take on different shapes, sizes, textures and colors. It can be challenging to identify what type of bug made its mark on the skin by just glancing at it. Being aware of your surroundings can make it easier to know what bit or stung you. If you didn’t notice the insect, look at your bite and see what it could’ve been caused by:

  • Bee and wasp stings: These types of stings are the most common to identify because of the immediate pain they cause. When a bee stings, it will leave behind a large red bump, sometimes surrounded by white splotches. You might also notice a stinger left in the affected area. 
  • Mosquito bites: These bites are singular small red or flesh-colored bumps that typically itch for a few hours up to a few days. 
  • Tick bites: When ticks bite into the skin, they leave behind a bullseye-like mark.
  • Flea bites: Fleas are wingless creatures, meaning they can only jump onto the skin from the ground. This limited mobility typically results in bite marks around the feet, ankles and legs that can cause itchy red welts. These bites heal in about a week if they aren’t infected. 
  • Horse fly bites: Horse flies can pack a punch with their painful bites. These stinging pains cause a raised red bump that can sometimes turn into a rash. These types of bites typically go away after a few days

Treating Common Summer Bug Bites

If you can identify what bug bite you have, treatment is the next best step to healing bug bites quickly. Most bites will go away on their own, but we understand that waiting for that day may seem tricky. Remedies for bug bites that itch and swell are easy to apply and typically found in local pharmacies. 

The best bug bite relief can depend on the specific bite or sting you sustained:

Bee Stings

In bee stings, the stinger can burrow in the skin even after the bee leaves. Use a clean, straight-edged item like a credit card to gently scrape the stinger out. Since venom infuses these stingers, avoid removing them with tweezers or by squeezing so the venom does not penetrate the wound. 

After the stinger is out, run the location of the sting under water and clean the area with soap. This step can remove any dirt that could infect the sting. Apply an icepack to the location to reduce swelling for up to 20 minutes at a time. To eliminate discomfort, apply hydrocortisone cream or aloe vera to the sting. These steps should allow a quick healing process. 

Mosquito Bites

Treating mosquito bites is similar to playing the waiting game. Try to avoid scratching the bite as much as possible to prevent breaking the skin and causing infection. Like bee stings, washing the bite with soap and water can help remove any bacteria from the area. If the bite location continues to itch, apply an anti-itch or antihistamine cream. Calamine lotion can help to smooth the area and reduce swelling. 

Tick Bites

A tick bite can sometimes also come with the tick itself. Ticks latch themselves onto the skin until manually removed with fine-tipped tweezers. After the tick releases the skin, treating the area with a cold icepack for 20 minutes every hour can eliminate any swelling or red marks on the skin. 

To dispose of the tick, don’t crush it. That could release infection-causing fluids from inside its body. Instead, you can flush the tick down the toilet, put it in a sealed bag, put it in rubbing alcohol or wrap it in tape and throw it out.

Flea and Horse Fly Bites

A flea bite and a horse fly bite are similar in treatment. Clean the area with soap and water to avoid spreading bacteria from the wound. If itching starts to occur, apply an anti-itch cream. These bites typically heal quickly on their own, but you should try to keep them clean and avoid itching them. 


How to Prevent Bug Bites

Before going outside, make sure to follow these steps to avoid bug bites:

  • Cover up as much skin as possible: We understand that the summer heat can make this fashion choice a little uncomfortable. Even wearing a thin material to cover the arms and legs can prevent bugs from reaching the skin. 
  • Invest in an effective bug repellent spray: Bug spray is an essential summer item to have for any outdoor activity. Like you should with sunscreen, apply bug spray to the skin every time you go outside and reapply every few hours. Finding the right repellent depends on the type of bug you wish to avoid.
  • Avoid humid, grassy areas: Bugs, especially mosquitos and ticks, thrive in specific environments that become difficult to stay away from in the summer months. Mosquitos typically live in wet areas such as ponds, pools and birdbaths. Ticks, on the other hand, live in tall grassy areas. In both cases, you should avoid traveling to places with excess moisture, standing water or unkempt grass.
  • Avoid active bug nests: This step may sound like a simple effort to follow, but bugs reside everywhere! Bees’ nests hide in corners of gardens and outside of homes, making it hard to spot where they gather. If you find a bee or wasp nest in an area where people typically lounge, it may be time to call a pest removal specialist. Dealing with these nests is dangerous and can result in those painful stings that welt up in a matter of minutes.
  • Take notice of your location: If you plan to travel this summer, educate yourself on the health conditions around your destination. Bugs can carry various diseases such as the Zika virus, malaria, Lyme disease, West Nile Virus and many more. Insects infest some areas more than others and can quickly spread these diseases. Research your location or vacation spot to assess the surroundings before making any outdoor plans. 

Helping Children and Babies Avoid Bug Bites

Young ones are naturally curious about nature and the wildlife around them. Something as innocent as a backyard exploration can lead to uncomfortable bug bites. Follow the advice above and these tips for protecting children and babies from getting bitten:

  • Keep strollers and baby carriers screened: Placing a baby or small child in a stroller makes it easier for parents to get somewhere faster. However, strollers and carriers with thick coverings across the opening can quickly trap heat. Instead, place a mesh screen over the opening to avoid overheating and protect from bug bites. 
  • Inspect kids after playing outside: Ticks are notorious for latching onto hidden places on the body such as underarms, scalps and groin areas. If a child is playing outside, inspect underneath their clothing to detect any unwanted pests. 
  • Encourage bathing after outdoor activity: Making a habit of taking a shower or bath after outdoor playtime can prevent the spreading of bacteria from dirt, water and, of course, bug bites. 

Trust Coastal Urgent Care for Bug Bite Treatment

In an event where a bug bite triggers an allergic reaction or the skin continues to worsen for more than a week, visit Coastal Urgent Care as soon as possible. Our qualified staff of medical professionals can help assess the bite and offer immediate treatment options specialized for your situation. Walk-ins are available seven days a week, or you can schedule an appointment.

Have any questions about our services at our Houma, Louisiana, facility? Contact us today.