Wondering what kind of bug bit you or your child and hoping to find out? Unfortunately, though there’s certainly a list of common suspects, insect bites are not that easy to identify, and even medical professionals have a hard time diagnosing bites. Here is why:
Your Immune System Impacts How Symptoms Present Themselves
Not everyone reacts to an insect bite the same way. For example, bed bug bites often occur in a linear series of three (a bed bug’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner?!), but you may wake up looking like you have been whipped or stuck randomly with needles. Stranger still, your partner has no red spots or raised welts, despite the fact that they were bitten, too. Why? Your immune system is simply more sensitive to the enzymes and other proteins bed bugs inject while feeding. The different reactions that each person’s immune system causes mean that bug bites can look extremely different from one person to the next, making it difficult to confidently know what bug bit you.
Other Personal Factors
Besides your immune system’s response, your age, other health issues affecting you, and even the medications you are taking can influence how bug bites present themselves. Occupation, region of residency, and travel history can expand or narrow the list of suspects that bit you. That may get you a bit closer to a diagnosis, but a truly accurate idea of what bug bit you, without you actually seeing the bug, is nearly impossible. Making a guess is not helpful, and misdiagnosis can be dangerous.
Your “Bite” Might Not Be a Bite at All
Unless you saw something bite you, your “bug bite” symptoms might actually be due to something like….
- Ingrown hairs – folliculitis is commonly misdiagnosed as “bug bites.”
- Herpes blisters – Herpes sores are often interpreted as insect or spider bites.
- Poison Oak/Poison Ivy – Often results in a rash resembling insect bites.
- Sporotrichosis – A fungal infection that may cause necrotic skin lesions, often mistakenly attributed to spider bites.
- Hives – Papular urticaria manifests as red, itchy bumps.
If you are concerned about a bite from an insect you saw bite you, take the insect to the doctor. In the absence of a suspect caught “red-handed,” physicians should screen for causal agents other than “bugs.”
Sooth the Itch & Be Vigilant
Fortunately, whether you know what bug bit you or not, most insect bites require only over-the-counter remedies for treatment. After Bite® products, when applied correctly according to the directions, give quick, long-lasting relief from insect bites. Wash the wound before applying After Bite® to deter secondary infection. Seek professional medical attention if symptoms do not abate in a timely manner, or symptoms out of proportion to a bite occur, such as shortness of breath, fever, or rapid pulse. Stay safe out there.