Not all insects are programmed to take a taste of your blood or sink their stingers into your skin, but there are plenty of bad bugs that we would like to avoid. Here in Arizona, we have plenty of insects to watch out for. Complicating the situation for some people are different levels of allergic reactions to these bites and stings.
Granted, allergic reactions don’t play a leading role in all dangerous bug bite situations. For instance, toxic venom from certain spiders, scorpions, and other insects can escalate to serious consequences for anybody, regardless of any allergy issues.
Let’s break down potential allergic responses into different creepy crawly categories.
Bites: Some people have allergic reactions to bites from pests like fleas, mosquitos, flies, and bedbugs. These are typically minor reactions, like redness, welts, and itching – not serious and gone within a few hours or days.
Breathing: Cockroaches and dust mites are more likely to cause asthma attacks than other pests. An infestation of cockroaches is unhealthy for all kinds of reasons.
Stings: People tend to be most worried about allergic reactions to certain stinging insects. Stings from many different kinds of bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants can provoke serious allergic responses. Reactions to their painful stings can vary widely, ranging from brief pain to life-threatening situations.
What to watch for
A mild allergic reaction to a sting or bite could include an instant burning pain, a red welt where you got bit, or swelling around the bite. Typically, the pain and swelling would last up to a few hours and then go away.
A moderate allergic reaction could include sharp burning pain, a larger and very red welt, and swelling around the area that continues to spread the next day. Moderate reactions can last up to five or even ten days. If this happens to you, talk to your doctor about treatment and prevention.
A severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition that can stop the victim’s breathing. Symptoms can start with a flushed, red face, neck, or chest and move into hives and itching. The person’s eyes can virtually swell shut while the throat and tongue become swollen, making breathing difficult. The victim may have a weak or very rapid pulse, faint, and lose consciousness. Emergency medical help is needed immediately and should be called as soon as one or two symptoms appear.
About 3% of the population are likely to have a moderate to a severe allergy to bee stings. Even if you’ve had no reaction or a mild reaction after a first sting, there is no guarantee that you will always have that reaction the next time you’re stung. If an individual has had one severe allergic reaction to a bee sting, he or she has a 25% to 65% chance of another severe reaction if stung again.
People die every year from allergic reactions to bee venom. To help ward off the danger of anaphylaxis, an allergy specialist can prescribe “emergency epinephrine autoinjectors,” such as EpiPens, and can help with preventive measures such as allergy shots (“immunotherapy”) to avoid such severe reactions in case they get stung again.
Take steps to protect you and your family
Although nobody likes mosquito bites and ant stings, the good news is that most allergic responses to insect “aggression” are temporary and mild. Here are a few steps to help prevent bites and stings:
- No perfume outdoors: bugs are attracted to flowers and scents
- No bare feet or sandals when you’re walking in the grass
- No open food out to attract insects
- Keep your eyes open for nests, webs, and hives; teach children to be careful around wood piles, standing water, dense underbrush, and large rocks that can shelter spiders
- Keep top-quality bug spray handy when outdoors and apply when needed
- Contact a well-respected pest control company to better protect your home
To ensure that you are taking care of your family’s health and safety and protecting them as thoroughly as possible against bugs that sting and bite, call us. Our reliable pest-control experts know all about the kind of pests that we have in Arizona – and they have the tools and the techniques to help keep your home safe from infestation, from the front door to the backyard.