Bad Bugs: Identify Bugs and Their Bites
Ticks are often found in plants and brush, and can attach to and bite people and animals. Most tick bites are not harmful; however, ticks can carry serious diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Most commonly, ticks attach to warm, moist, and hard-to-see parts of the body including the scalp, armpits, groin, skin folds, and other hairy areas. Ticks must be removed properly to minimize the chances of infection
- Wear appropriate clothing outdoors to reduce exposure
- Use tick repellant with DEET
- Check for ticks if you spend time in the woods
A Lyme disease bacterium is carried in the deer tick (in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central U.S.) and the western blacklegged tick on the Pacific Coast. In most cases, the tick must be attached 36-48 hours to spread Lyme disease. A circular, red, expanding rash (erythema migrans, or a “bullseye” rash) is one of the first symptoms of Lyme disease. Other symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment in the early stages with antibiotics is generally effective.
Poisonous Black Widow Spiders
Black widow spiders are about ½ inch wide; with a shiny, black, globular abdomen that has the distinctive red hourglass on the underside. Only the female of the species bites humans. They live throughout the U.S., but most are found in the southern regions.
Black Widow Spider Bites
Black widow spider bite symptoms usually start 20 minutes to one hour following the bite, and can include pain, though not all people experience pain. Other symptoms include muscle cramps and spasms, abdominal pain, tremors, weakness, or a rise in blood pressure. Seek medical attention immediately. Treatment includes antivenin (which counteracts the spider toxin) and pain medications if necessary.
Deadly Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders are extremely poisonous, and bites can cause infection and illness. They are found mostly in the Midwestern and Southeastern U.S. They are yellowish-tan to dark brown in color with darker legs that are about one inch in length. They have a characteristic violin pattern on their back.
Brown Recluse Spider Bites
The bite of a brown recluse spider is usually painless, but may feel like a mild bee sting. Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include severe pain at the site of the bite that develops about four hours after the bite; followed by severe itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle pain. See a doctor immediately if you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider bite. If possible, bring the spider to the ER for proper identification.
Itchy Head Lice
Head lice are about 2-3 millimeters (mm) long, and they infest the head and neck area, usually hidden in your hair. Head lice spread through direct contact with the hair of a person infested with head lice. It is most common among preschool and elementary school-aged children, and members of the household of children who are infested with head lice. Head lice are not known for spreading disease, however, they may cause itching, and scratching may lead to infection.
Head Lice Remedies
Treatment is recommended for anyone with an active infestation of head lice. Pediculicides (medicines that kill lice) may be prescribed by your doctor. Wash all clothing and bedding used by the person infested with head lice. Often, it is recommended that family members also be treated at the same time to prevent further head lice infestation.
Fleas: Not for Pets Only
Fleas are not just a problem for Fido – they can bite people too. Fleas are about 2.5 millimeters (mm) long, they are reddish-brown in color, and while wingless, they can jump large distances. They suck blood from their host to feed.
Some people may develop an allergic reaction to a flea bite. Scratching an itchy flea bite can cause the skin on and around the bitten area to break open, which can lead to infection. Make sure all pets in your home are on flea preventative products, keep your home clean, and treat any flea infestations that may occur.
Tick Bites, Flea Bites, Brown Recluse Spider Bites, Black Widow Spider Bites