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Insect Bites

By

Robert A. Barish

, MD, MBA, University of Illinois at Chicago;


Thomas Arnold

, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
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GET THE QUICK FACTS

Among the more common biting insects in the United States are the following:

All of these, except wheel bugs and water bugs, also suck blood, but none is venomous. The bites of these insects may be irritating because of the components of their saliva. Most bites result in nothing more than a small, red, itchy bump. Sometimes, people develop a large sore (ulcer), with swelling and pain. The most severe reactions occur in people who are allergic to the bites or who develop an infection after being bitten. Fleas can cause allergic reactions sometimes without biting.

The bite should be cleaned, and an ointment or cream containing an antihistamine, an anesthetic, a corticosteroid, or a combination may be applied to relieve itching, pain, and inflammation. People with multiple bites can take an antihistamine by mouth. People who are allergic to the bite should seek medical attention immediately or use an emergency allergy kit containing a preloaded syringe of epinephrine.

Infectious Disease Spread by Insects

More significant than the bites themselves, certain insect bites in certain parts of the world can spread infectious disease. The following are some examples:

Mosquito bites can transmit several diseases, including

Flea bites can transmit

Lice may transmit

Some other insect bites and the diseases they can cause include

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Test your knowledge
Fractures of the Jaw and Midface
Fractures to one or more facial structures can result from a single injury. Jaw fractures may occur to the mandible, or lower jaw, or to the maxilla, bone of the upper jaw. Other structures susceptible to fracture include the eye sockets, nose, and cheek bones. Which of the following facial structures is most likely to fracture if a person falls from a great height or hits the windshield of a car face-first during a motor vehicle accident?
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