What Bit Me? How To Identify And Treat Bug Bites
No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you’ve been bitten by bugs. While bug bites can sometimes be dangerous, for the most part they are harmless—yet often uncomfortable. The good news is there are steps you can take to relieve the pain and prevent infection.
Here’s a look at different types of bug bites, their potential effects and how to squash them.
What Is a Bug Bite?
“A bug bite occurs when the skin is broken by the mouth of an insect, usually to feed on blood or to defend its territory,” explains Jeffrey Hsu, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Oak Dermatology in the Chicago metropolitan area.
How People Get Bug Bites
There are many ways to get bitten. If you’re a hiker, camper, bird watcher or spend a lot of time outside where you may be exposed to insects, you’re more likely to get a bug bite, notes Cheryl Rosen, M.D., the director of dermatology at health resource website BowTied Life in New York.
You might also be at risk if you’re often in contact with pets or animals, or travel frequently, especially to tropical places. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time outside, bugs can still get to you, says Erum N. Ilyas, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology in the greater Philadelphia area. Bites are likely to happen if you live in close living quarters such as a hospital, dorm or unsanitary living conditions, she says, adding that they may arise if you spend time in public spaces like trains, buses and hotels that are often used by many people.
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