Insect bites: facts, treatment and prevention tips

Insect bites and stings are prevalent throughout the world. They are a seasonal phenomenon, although indoor infestations can persist year-round.

Remember that insects can carry disease, so personal protection against bites plays a major part in the prevention of such diseases. Insect venoms and saliva are complex. Immediate reactions are commonly related to histamine, serotonin, formic acid or kinins. In addition, secondary infection with bacteria is common. Insect bites usually appear as grouped or disseminated 1- to 4-mm bumps that are markedly itchy. Unexpected stings occur frequently; therefore, allergic individuals must carry epinephrine at all times.

What are some treatments?
Camphor and menthol lotions and gel formulations may be useful to control the itch. Topical anesthetic preparations can be particularly helpful, and those containing pramoxine are readily available. For persistent bite reactions, prescription topical corticosteroid preparations are often required.

Prevention is better than a cure!
Prevention of bites is best accomplished through the use of protective clothing and repellents. DEET remains the most widely used repellent for the prevention of mosquito as well as most other insect bites. DEET can be applied to exposed skin or clothing. Many products with 10% or lower concentrations of DEET are available, and because the chemical is strong, preparations greater than 30% should be avoided. Other effective repellents that are available on the market tend to include Picaridin. Natural repellents such as soybean oil, citronella, neem oil, fennel oil and geraniol are not as effective as products containing DEET or Picaridin.

We believe no concern is too small or insignificant. If you have questions or concerns about insect bites or bite prevention, contact us immediately to schedule a visit. Call our office at 972-649-6644 and schedule an exam today.

Reference: Bolognia