Gnats - Pronounced: Nats
Gnats are tiny fly-like insects which belong to the same family that mosquitoes and flies belong to. They are also known by a number of other names like midges or blackflies. Gnats are usually found near water bodies because they lay their eggs on the surface of the water.
Gnats require blood for their survival and therefore tend to bite humans and/or animals for the same reason that mosquitoes do. While gnats cannot bite through layers of clothing like mosquitoes do, they can crawl into the clothes or even the hair and administer bites like thus.
Are Gnat Bites Dangerous?
Gnat bites can definitely be dangerous as they might lead to an infection. This happens due to the varied surfaces that gnats may land on that could be infected (like dead animals or garbage). This may cause an infection and transfer varied germs and cause diseases in this manner.
Most often, people who are bitten by gnats do not realize the same because these bites do not sting while being administered. Yet after a short while, visible symptoms will make way. Gnat bites tend to leave the skin itchy, red and swollen. In some cases, the gnats might even draw small amounts of blood.
If these bites are not treated immediately then it can cause the wound to swell, become very itchy and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. There are several allergic reactions to these bites, the possibility of an infection coming through and that is why it becomes important to know how to treat these bites. The same will be tackled in the following section.
Avoiding Gnat Bites
It's better to avoid being bitten by gnats than being treated for the same. Here are a few steps that can be adopted.
- Avoid going out during dawn and dusk. as during these times gnats are most rampant.
- Cover your arms and legs fully when out. Gnats (unlike mosquitoes) can't bite through cloth so if you don't allow them access, they can't cause any harm.
- Apply any effective insect repellent to avoid getting bites in the first place. Use citronella lotion on the skin. It works as a natural insect repellent.
- The best solution is to avoid going near water bodies to fend off gnats.
2. Use an Ice Pack
The bitten area will usually sting and burn (in varying degrees). One can apply an ice pack to the gnat-bitten area to relieve that pain. The ice will numb the pain and make it bearable.
3. Application of Creams
Apply an antiseptic cream so that the possibility of an infection is eliminated. An antiseptic gel or cream will also cool off the sting and help minimize the swelling. If the area continues to itch then it becomes important to apply an anti-itch cream or medicine to the area.
One can apply one of these natural ingredients- toothpaste, vinegar, aloe Vera sap, calamine lotion or witch hazel. Another alternative is to take some baking soda and dilute it with water, then take a towel and dab it in the solution and apply on the wound. Rubbing alcohol and oil cloves also work to take the sting, burning, itching and swelling down.
4. Ingestion of Medication
If gnat bites, like any other insect bites, begin to swell abnormally, red patches and hives begin to develop on the skin or you are having difficulty in breathing, it means that you are having an allergic reaction to them. In such a scenario, benadryl medicines can be administered in either the oral or lotion form (or both).
In addition to that, taking an antihistamine medication (as a solution for allergies) will relieve the severity of these bites. In case the bites are too severe and administering any of these methods does not relieve the pain or other symptoms of the same, then visiting a doctor is imperative.
The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic course if the scratching has caused an infection (If vigorous scratching has caused the wound to bleed, it is best to cover it with a band aid. The band aid should be changed regularly.). He is also likely to give you a Benadryl (diphenhydramine) shot or an antihistamine as a part of the treatment.
Gnat bites are very painful and can tend to escalate into a severe infection. That is the reason they need to be treated immediately. Follow any of the methods mentioned above and get rid of gnat bites for good.