Itchy, nasty red welts covered my legs, arms and neck after just 30 minutes of an evening walk. I had forgotten bug spray, and I paid for it – for two weeks! The days are longer in the summer, but right before nightfall, the bugs in Texas can be vicious. And while it’s never fun to get ugly bites, sometimes it can be even more dangerous – and land you in the hospital. Keep reading for a few tips on how to tell when bug bites become dangerous, in order to make sure they stay annoying and not life-threatening.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most bug bites and stings are perfectly harmless (yes!), but sometimes, you can be allergic to the bug’s venom or the bug can carry a disease. You should go to the emergency room if you have been bitten or stung from a mosquito, flea, spider, bee, wasp, hornet, biting fly, mite, tick, fire ant, bedbug or other insect and experience: difficulty breathing, feeling like your throat is closing, swollen lips, tongue or face, chest pain, racing heartbeat, dizziness, vomiting, headache, a red, donut-shaped or target-shaped rash, or a fever with a red or black spotty rash.
Unfortunately for Addisonites, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) Department recently stated that mosquitos in Addison have tested positive for West Nile virus, a disease that causes 1 in 150 people to develop a serious, sometimes fatal illness.
To combat this, the DCHHS recommends the 4D’s: DEET all day, every day when outside; Dress wearing long, loose and light-colored clothing; Drain or treat all standing water in and around your home; and Day and night limit your time outdoors when you see mosquitos.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repelents that contains one of these active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanoe.
Most of the time, bugs are a harmless irritation. But just in case they carry a harmful disease or you are allergic, it’s always important to stay aware and stay safe. With a little awareness (and a lot of bug spray) you can get back to enjoying your evenings outdoors once again.