When Does A Bug Bite Need Medical Attention?


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This is an important topic.  Sure, all our kids get bug bites....but, finding a tick embedded in his skin can be a pretty big deal.  When is a bug bite just a bug bite?  And when should we parents seek medical attention?  Read over this press release from New England Urgent Care in West Hartford.  Good advice.
 
New England Urgent Care of West Hartford encourages that when it comes to Lyme disease, CT residents need to lookout for the warning signs such as:
  • A circular rash, typically within 1-2 weeks of infection
  • Flu-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and most importantly, joint pain
 
It’s important to treat Lyme as soon as possible as there can be major neurologic damage or at worst, death,” warns Dr. Michael Gutman, Medical Director of New England Urgent Care.  “It should be noted that 30% of people with Lyme disease don’t have recollection of a tick bite, as these ticks can be very tiny.”
 
Dr. Gutman notes that if a person is indeed bitten by a tick, the best thing to do is to go to a medical provider who is knowledgeable and experienced in proper removal techniques.  In the event of a potential case of Lyme, antibiotics can make a big impact early on.  As a certified Urgent Care facility, New England Urgent Care is equipped to provide IV fluids.  Additionally, the center is open nights, weekends and holidays, when people are more likely to encounter a problem.
 
We may be able to thank bees for their honey, however their sting is anything but sweet and at times, dangerous.  If stung by a honeybee, Dr. Gutman recommends first trying to remove the stinger to stop the venom from pumping into skin by flicking it off with a credit card.  Don’t squeeze the venom sac with tweezers, as only more venom will be injected.  Important to note, only honeybees have venom sacs, which detach with the stinger whereas yellow jackets, wasps and hornets do not, thus honeybees only sting once the others can sting multiple times.
 
Most people will have mild reaction to sting such as slight swelling and a red welt.  However, about 10 percent of people have a stronger reaction including extreme redness and swelling that lasts several days.  More importantly, there are a small number of people who can have life-threatening allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings. If stung and you suffer symptoms including difficulty breathing, swelling of throat, light headedness due to low blood pressure or nausea, call 911.
 
Finally, especially for arachnophobes the thought of a black widow or brown recluse can send you running.  A bite from one of these varieties of spider could cause some serious problems.  They are considered the only two types of toxic spiders in the US.  A black widow’s bite feels like a pin prick and symptoms, including back pain, muscle cramps and nausea, can set in within a half hour.  The good news is that fatalities are extremely rare.  The bite can be treated with pain relievers, fluids, Tetanus shots and supportive care.
 
The brown recluse loves dark places like woodpiles.  Its bite is painless.  Within hours the infected area may feel itchy with redness and pain.  Lesions form with central blister and surrounding redness that resembles bulls-eye.  The blister can progress to necrotic (dead) area that can grow quite large and be deforming.  This type of bite needs prompt medical attention to initiate proper wound care, antibiotics for secondary infection and possible surgical intervention.
 
“The key to any bug or insect bite is to know which ones are dangerous and which are not,” said Dr. Gutman.  “Unlike the Emergency Department which is not allowed to give out information on the issue, we are happy and able to field your calls and you the best advice.”

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