When does a bug bite need medical attention?

Jun 27 2017

We can all agree that getting stung or bit by a bug is usually unpleasant. The small annoyance of crawling or flying critters is what we have to put up with in the great outdoors. Don’t get us wrong, it’s totally worth braving the elements to bask in the glory of mother nature, but it is important to know when a bug bite or sting goes from being an annoyance to being something more serious that perhaps needs medical attention.

How can you know if and when a bug bite needs medical attention? This question can be tricky, and it’s usually best to erron the side of caution if you are thinking a bite or sting is severe enough that it needs treatment. If you’re unsure, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

 

Most bites are harmless:

They’re never welcome, but luckily, most of the time bug bites are not threatening to your health. Pesky mosquitos are annoying, but common bug bites can be soothed with some over the counter cream and a little time to heal. We recommend that you always keep topical cream in your RV’s first aid kit. Cream like hydrocortisone that contains antihistamines will decrease itchiness to keep you from irritating the bite or sting further. Remember, the signs and symptoms of a mild bug bite should disappear after a few days.

 

While most are harmless, if you’re concerned about a particular bite and it is causing you pain, it’s best to call a doctor.

 

What to look for with a more severe bite:

If over-the-counter medicines aren’t relieving the bite and it is showing signs that it is increasing in severity, it might be time to call a doctor. Serious pain, swelling and bruising are signs that you might have a little more than a pesky bite on your hands. Keep an eye on your bite to monitor whether it is worsening or getting better and watch for these signs:

  • The bite is surrounded by a large, red target-shaped rash (this could be a sign of Lyme disease)
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hives

 

These are just a few of the signs to look out for when you have a more severe reaction that could use medical attention. You will probably be able to identify when your body isn’t having the usual reaction to a bug bite. While you shouldn’t be concerned about seeking emergency care from most bites, know that certain reactions could warrant a trip to the ER (although, this is pretty rare).

 

Most bug bites you will come across in the great outdoors won’t set you back for long. By keeping basic over-the-counter products available in your RV first aid kit, you should be able to soothe most bites without missing a beat so you can get back to enjoying the great outdoors!