In extremely rare cases, fleas are infected with the bacteria that causes plague. The disease can spread from wild rodents to pets and people. Over the past 10 years, as few as 1 and as many as 17 cases of plague were reported in the United States, according to the CDC, most in the rural West. Symptoms of plague include swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, and chills that appear from one to six days after the bite.
If you have hives, get many bites, or notice a bite that looks infected, you should visit a board-certified dermatologist for treatment, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Bedbug bites can occur anywhere on your body but typically show up on uncovered areas, such as your neck, face, arms, and hands. It’s good to know that although they’re common, bedbugs do not carry disease, according to the CDC.
Black widow spider bites are usually painful immediately. It can also cause swelling, redness, pain and numbness or tingling radiating out from the bite, MedlinePlus says.
- Insect bites and stings
- Bedbug bites
- What Bit Me? Spot These 13 Bug Bites
- Mite and Chigger Bites Cause Intense Itching
- 11 common bug bites and photos to help you identify them
- If you’re not sure it’s an insect bite or sting
- Video for “What do insect bites look like?”
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Insect bites and stings
When trying to identify the source of a bite, doctors are looking at your skin. But they’re also thinking about what you were doing when you got the bite, other symptoms you have and whether or not you got a look a the insect that was responsible, Dr. Amy Kassouf, dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells TODAY.com.
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A bite from a poisonous spider, like the black widow or brown recluse, is extremely dangerous and can cause a severe reaction. The black widow’s bite, which shows up as two puncture marks, may or may not be painful at first. But 30 to 40 minutes later, you may have pain and swelling in the area. Within eight hours, you may experience muscle pain and rigidity, stomach and back pain, nausea and vomiting, and breathing difficulties. You might not have seen the spider that bit you, but always seek medical attention immediately if there’s a possibility you could have been bitten by a poisonous spider. Call 911 or America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222.
Certain bug bites can also spread illnesses, such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, Dengue fever, and yellow fever (all transmitted by mosquitoes); Lyme disease (from ticks); Rocky Mountain spotted fever (from dogs or wood ticks); and Chagas disease (from a blood-sucking insect known as a “kissing bug”).
What Bit Me? Spot These 13 Bug Bites
A venomous spider bite (like this brown recluse bite) can cause a red or purplish rash radiating from the site of the bite. NIH
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Mite and Chigger Bites Cause Intense Itching
Kissing bugs hide in the daytime but emerge at night, often leaving bites on the face and causing a swollen eyelid. In the first few weeks after infection, symptoms of Chagas disease can include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, a loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. But, the CDC notes, in the long term, and even decades later, about 30 percent of people infected by kissing bugs will develop serious complications of Chagas disease: an enlarged heart, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm, cardiac arrest, or an enlarged colon, also known as megacolon.
People who tend to be more reactive may have severe swelling in the entire limb, and “you can get blisters on top because it’s so swollen,” Kassouf says.
There may be a mark on your skin where you were bitten or stung.
11 common bug bites and photos to help you identify them
A mosquito bite appears as an itchy, round red or pink skin bump. It’s usually a harmless bug bite but can sometimes cause a serious illness, such as the Zika virus (particularly harmful in pregnant women), West Nile virus, malaria, or eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). For most people, Zika causes a brief, flulike illness. But newborns of pregnant women infected with Zika have an alarming rate of microcephaly birth defects. Check out the Zika Travel Information page on the website for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find out more about travel warnings and advisories.
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If you’re not sure it’s an insect bite or sting
You’ve been bitten or stung by an insect and:
Unlike black widow bites, brown recluse bites aren’t painful immediately. But the venom from a brown recluse spider can cause serious skin problems around the area of the bite, which typically become increasingly painful in the hours after the bite.