Prevention, Prevention, Prevention
Once bitten the battle is half lost. The safest and easiest treatment for insect bites is prevention. A few simple precautions before you head outside for the day are very helpful. Be sure to apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Just as important, cover up with protective clothing, especially if you plan on being outdoors for a prolonged period. Close-toed shoes, tucked-in shirts, and long socks are a great way to keep bugs away. Another trick is to spray your clothing, especially around any openings, such as near your ankles.
As the climate changes mosquito bites have become potentially more serious. Most mosquitoes in northern climates don’t transmit disease, however, some do. West Nile virus has spread throughout the United States and parts of Canada and several other forms of mosquito-borne encephalitis. In semitropical South Florida, we have more to be concerned about. Recently, Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and even Malaria have all been seen in our community.
Tick-borne disease is not widespread in South Florida but in other areas ticks transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease. They live in grassy and brushy areas and are most prevalent during wet seasons. A common hiding place is in wet leaves. They often infest animals, including field mice and deer, and they may be transported into your home by your pets.
What to Do If Your Bitten?
Common biting insects in the U.S. include mites, bed bugs, spiders, mosquitos, ticks, fire ants, fleas, or biting flies. Obviously, if you are having a severe reaction head to your local ER but if you are not having a severe reaction there are a few simple things you can do to relieve most bite reactions. First apply an ice pack, second use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, like hydrocortisone. If these topical maneuvers do not help, over-the-counter itch medications, like Benadryl can be helpful. Try to avoid scratching the bites as this is how they can become infected.
When the above does not help or if the bites are very numerous or they do not seem to be improving you can visit the office for prescription-strength topical or oral itch medications.
Now You Have Brown Spots
Often this happens if you have scratched your bites. That’s why it is important to treat them, so they don’t itch. Even under the best of circumstances in some people, bites can heal with a brown spot. Often, with time the spots will fade or disappear especially with careful sun protection, so wear your sunscreen. If they do not fade, there are prescription-strength creams that can be used to help the spots fade more rapidly.
If you need treatment of either Insect bites or the resulting brown spots, please call Sullivan Dermatology today or book online to schedule a comprehensive consultation.