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What are the Bug Bites That Cause Swelling And How to Treat Them

Symptoms of bug bites exist in plenty, and swelling happens to be just one of them. The swelling, in such cases, can be localized or general, depending on the insect in question.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
With several different types of bugs inhabiting the planet, it is least surprising that we tend to find them almost everywhere. These bugs are usually associated with their painful bites, which trigger swelling, rash or severe itch, and cause a great deal of discomfort. Swelling is perhaps the most common reaction when it comes to insect bites, and is triggered when the body tries to deal with foreign chemical/s that are introduced by insects when they bite.
Swelling need not necessarily be harmful considering that it is a defense mechanism of the body. However, it should not be ignored; especially if it stays for more than 3-4 days. It is also important to monitor the accompanying symptoms, like rash and itch, and consult a doctor if they fail to subside.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs are small nocturnal insects, most often found in the bedding, which are known to feed on human blood. Their bites usually result in localized swelling, reddening of skin and severe itching. The swelling may also lead to formation of blisters, at times. Similarly, small loss of skin tissue is also observed. While these bite marks are known to fade away on their own with time, the itching associated with them can cause a great deal of discomfort during that period.
Chigger Bites
Chigger, aka Chigoe flea, is a parasitic arthropod found in tropical areas. Chigger bites are characterized by small red lesions on the skin, which are accompanied by excessive itching and mild pain. People hypersensitive to insect bites can also experience blistering or swelling in the affected area. At times, the person may even experience bug bite rash and severe itching in the surrounding area.
Flea Bites
Fleas are wingless insects which use their modified mouth to pierce the skin and suck blood. Other than the characteristic itchy rash all over the body, flea bites are also known to trigger localized swelling. Flea bite symptoms can be localized or general depending on the individual's sensitivity to these bites. These symptoms can continue for a several days after the bite. In case of flea infestation, it is wise to adopt some flea control measures to get rid of them.
Spider Bites
Spider bites can result in a range of symptoms right from simple rash and localized swelling to severe complications such as nausea and muscle cramps. Symptoms may vary depending on the species of spider in question. A bite of the black widow, for instance, is characterized by immediate pain, burning sensation and localized swelling. On the other hand, a brown recluse spider's bite is characterized by severe pain which develops around 8 hours after the bite, and leads to formation of fluid-filled blister at the affected area. In case of other relatively harmless spiders, bite may result in swelling or itching that would subside with time.
Tick Bites
Ticks are small parasitic arachnids which feed on the blood of warm blooded animals and human beings. Their specially designed mouth helps them suck blood of the host organisms. Tick bites tend to cause redness, intense pain, itching alongside swelling of the affected area. They may also lead to formation of bug bite rash and blisters on the body. Tick bites are usually observed in form of red spots, and they can also lead to transmission of various diseases.
Other than these bugs, insects like mosquitoes and fire ants also bite and may cause the affected area to swell. Similarly, the attack of bees and wasps is also known to trigger swelling of the affected area, but these insects sting - and don't bite. (Regardless of what has triggered the itching sensation, you should not itch the affected area, as it would do no good but result in loss of skin tissue.)
Dealing with Insect Bites
Even though these bug bites are not considered fatal, the chances of a life-threatening allergic reaction cannot be ruled out. That makes it important to monitor the affected part of the body, and consult a doctor if the symptoms refuse to fade off within 3-4 days. The best home remedy to deal with the symptoms of bug bite is to apply ice pack to the affected part of the body. If the resultant pain is unbearable or if the itching sensation refuses to subside, you can resort to pain reliever or topical mediation to deal with these issues.
As most of these bugs attack to in self-defense, avoiding them can spare you from their terrible bites. When it comes to the parasitic bugs however, they primarily attack for food and not for self-defense, and therefore you are left with no other option but to exterminate them to make sure that they don't harm you.