Get those bug bites checked

When on safari you don’t need to worry about the lions, according to an old saying. It’s the bugs you need to be careful of.

Even in the Midwest, some of our most dangerous creatures walk on six or more tiny legs. This summer make sure you and your family know when it’s time to see the doctor for a bug bite.

Chiggers

These small hatchlings of mites inject a fluid into skin that causes the skin cells to rupture. Chigger bites result in the skin becoming red, swollen and itchy. A visit to the doctor can help determine if the cause is indeed a chigger bite and get you started on the right remedy for relieving the symptoms.

Ticks

Tick bites are capable of leading to infections, and the one most associated with deer tick bites is a bacterial infection called Lyme disease.

Check your skin after you’ve been in tall grasses. Usually a tick needs to be attached to your body for 24 hours or more before the bacteria spreads to your blood.

If you experience symptoms like chills, fever, headache, muscle pain, stiff neck, or a rash, see your doctor to be tested for an infection.

Spiders

Fortunately, the two spiders in Iowa with venom strong enough to pose a health threat are rare.

A bite from a brown recluse spider may go unnoticed. But the symptoms will go from redness and blistering at first to pain and itching a few hours later, eventually a week later to an open sore that may begin breaking down tissue around the site.

Be sure to have your doctor examine any unexplained open sores in your skin.

A black widow spider bite has more serious consequences. The shiny black spider has a half-inch of body length and is about an inch and a half in diameter with its legs extended. It has a red hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of its body.

You will want to seek medical attention as soon as possible to monitor your condition.

Last reviewed: 
June 2017

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