DOCCS
Animal and Insect Bites

Animal and Insect Bites

Insect bites are very common and can occur when an insect feels threatened, or as a way of feeding. Certain insects such as ants inject formic acid into the victim when they bite, resulting in the swelling and itching that is commonly associated with insect bites. Certain insect bites can trigger allergic reactions called anaphylaxis, which can cause rashes, swelling, or even lead to death. For this reason it is incredibly important to be aware of pre-existing conditions, and seek immediate attention if needed.

There are three different levels of reactions that a sting may produce. The first is the most common which is a red, itchy, sometimes painful reaction at the spot of the bite. The second reaction is a more serious one that is described as a swelling that exceeds 5 cm in diameter. These are both considered local reactions. Systemic or allergic reactions are more serious in nature and can be life threatening. Seek medical attention immediately if after being stung you experience a shortness of breath, dizziness, or if the reaction travels away from the location of the initial bite, in the form of a rash, hives, or swelling. Remember never to panic as this can hasten the onset of allergic reactions, and when bit try and remove the stinger immediately to prevent more venom from going into your skin.

A number of different insects do bite for the purpose of feeding off humans, the severity of the reactions to these different bites vary as well. The most common are mosquitoes, ants, fleas, ticks, lice, bed bugs, midges, and flies.

Animal bites differ greatly from insect bites and are less common. However, there are still a staggering 4.7 million dog bites a year in the US alone that require medical attention, the most common type of animal bite, dog bites can become infected from the bacteria in the dogs mouth transferring to the human. Cat bites come in at second for the most common bites that need treatment. Depending on the severity of the bite, animal bites are usually left open and not sutured due to the risk of infection. When bit by an animal seek immediate medical attention since different animals can carry rabies amongst other diseases. Your doctor will provide the proper antibiotics and care to get you back to normal. Animal bites are not just limited to bites from domestic animals. Bites from snakes, raccoons, bats, even sharks can be some of the most deadly types of bites dues to their severity and potential of carrying diseases and venomous poisons.