Summer brings high temperatures, green leaves, and insects. Insects lurk everywhere and many view your presence as a meal ticket. Most of the time, these various bites are nothing serious. There are times, however, when insects can cause more serious problems that require prompt medical care.
At AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Atlanta, our team of medical providers have experience treating insect-related problems. From allergic reactions to bacterial infections like Lyme disease, we've seen it all.
Here’s how to tell if your bite or sting is serious and warrants a trip to the urgent care.
Recognizing an allergic reaction
An insect bite or sting causes discomfort for most people. But, those who have insect allergies, could experience something more serious. An allergy is an overreaction of your immune system toward something it deems dangerous. Insects rank among the more common allergies.
These allergic reactions can range from mild to severe with symptoms that include:
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, and they don’t resolve themselves with ice and topical ointments, you should come and see us. Even if your symptoms subside, you shouldn't have ongoing problems with insect bites and stings. If you do, we can get to the bottom of the problem through allergy testing.
In rare cases, an insect bite or sting — typically a bee sting — can bring on anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition marked by:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling in your lips or throat
- Racing heart rate
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, you need immediate care and should dial 911.
Outside of allergies
While allergies represent the lion’s share of problems with insect bites and stings, there are other potential dangers. For example, tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
If you’ve been bitten by a tick and a red ring around the bite develops, this could be a sign of Lyme disease and you should see us as soon as possible. The earlier we treat this disease with antibiotics, the better able we are to eradicate the infection.
If you develop a fever with red or black spotty rash, this may be a sign of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This infection is rare, however, with less than 400 cases in Georgia in 2018.
Rounding out the list of hidden dangers when it comes to insect bites is West Nile Virus. To date this year, West Nile virus has only been found in animals in Georgia and not humans. But you should still familiarize yourself with the symptoms, which include:
- Body aches
- Skin rash
Whether these symptoms develop as a result of West Nile Virus or a common flu, it’s a good idea to have us check you out.
If you’re on the fence about whether to come and see us, please give us a call at (678) 904-5611. Or you can visit our website here to schedule an appointment.