Bug Bites That Cause Swelling
There are many different kinds of bug bites that cause swelling, and no one likes to wake up in the morning to the sight of a bright red lump on their body. The problem with insects and bugs is that they generally are nocturnal. They become active at night when humans are most susceptible to them. But before we talk about which kinds of bug bites that cause swelling, we should discuss a little bit about why bug bites cause swelling.
Depending on the level of sensitivity of the skin, it should generally only swell because a foreign chemical is introduced. This is not necessarily a poison. Some bug bites, such as mosquito bites, inject a chemical solution into the area which keeps the blood they're drawing out from coagulating and clotting so that they can process it. This chemical isn't considered a poison, but it causes swelling nonetheless. Many other kinds of bugs bite even though they aren't poisonous, and these bites shouldn't cause swelling, unless the skin is overly sensitive.
Types of Bites
If you've gotten a bug bite and aren't sure where it came from, this list should help you determine. It goes from most common to least common.
1. Mosquito Bites
- Like we discussed already, mosquito bites cause swelling due to a chemical they inject into the skin in order to keep the blood from clotting. Mosquito bites aren't dangerous unless the mosquito is infected with malaria, which is a blood borne disease that's very dangerous. But in the United States and other modern countries, malaria is very rare. It generally thrives in jungle climates.
- Flea bites are very common in homes, especially homes that have pets. Fleas live happily in carpets and couches and can jump great distances, meaning that they can land on your skin and bite before you even know they're there. Flea bites aren't always able to be felt at the moment of the bite. So if you're noticing small and itchy red bumps but have no idea where they've come from, then you might have a flea problem. Fleas are very small as well, and very difficult to kill. Smashing them between your fingers doesn't usually do the job. So if you capture a flea in your fingers, you may want to wash it down the sink.
3. Spider Bites
- Spider bites in general are very common, but the type of spider can be varied. Common household include Daddy-Long-Legs, which don't bite, and Wolf Spiders. Wolf spiders are usually small to medium size, and aren't among the more poisonous of spiders. Their bites will leave a pink or reddish lump on the skin for a couple of days. The size of the lump generally corresponds to the size of the spider.
- There are many other kinds of spiders that live nearby homes. These however, are usually more dangerous and leave more than just some simple swelling. These include Black Widows, Brown Recluse, and Funnel Spiders. If you get bit by any of these, you'll know it, and you'll want to seek immediate medical attention. An ordinary household spider bite shouldn't get worse than a small lump. So if yours does, seek medical attention.
4. Bed Bug Bites
- Bed bugs are tiny parasites that live in beds. There are different varieties of bugs that could be labeled bed bugs, but the one generally thought of is the one that feeds on human blood. Bed bug bites are very similar to mosquito bites in that the swelling comes from the anti-coagulant chemicals that's injected into the region to keep the blood from clotting. Bed bugs are much less common in urban environments than they once were. They've largely been eradicated in the modern world. Bed bugs are able to feed on their host's blood without waking the host.
6. Bees, Wasps, and Hornets
7. Centipede Bites
- Centipede bites are often very painful. The centipede leaves a pair of puncture wounds through two pointed attack claws that inject a non-fatal poison into its victim. Centipedes are generally encountered outdoors, and can attack a victim when a portion of the body is stepped on. If the victim is wearing sandals and steps on a small portion of the body of a large centipede, the rest of the body can swing upward and sting the foot of the victim. A centipede sting will definitely leave swelling, but you'll feel it right away. Centipedes inhabit mostly the southwestern states.
- Most everything about scorpions is similar to centipedes. The method of attack, the type of poison, and the region are all very similar.
Causes of Swelling
The important thing to realize about bugs and insects is that they don't eat the same way that humans do. Many other living creatures metabolize and eat in very different ways, and often use poisons and other chemicals in order to both catch and eat their prey. These chemicals are sometimes very hazardous to humans and sometimes fairly inert. Some spider bites, for example, such as the brown recluse spider, injects a chemical into the skin that actually begins to break down and digest the skin all around the bite. It's a very nasty type of bite that often causes widespread damage to the area around the bite.
Most bug bites that cause swelling however are localized and cause swelling more because of the body's attempt to isolate and deal with the foreign chemical without letting it spread. Most bug bites that swell are fairly safe, and unless the bite persists and gets worse, they should fade away and stop itching within 2-3 days. The body absorbs the foreign toxin and then gets rid of it. But like we said earlier, the most important thing a person can do with a bug bite is to watch it, and if it continues to worsen, to seek medical attention.
**This article is meant for your general knowledge and shouldn't be taken as medical advice or a medical diagnosis
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.