Mild itchiness and pain are normal reactions to insect bites and stings, but if you experience anything more severe than these, including shortness of breath and swelling away from the original site, you should contact a doctor or seek medical attention immediately. It’s possible you could be having a severe allergic reaction, suffering from an insect-borne disease, or experiencing an infection.

Although horse flies and deer flies most affect the animals in those names, unfortunately being a human doesn’t earn you a free pass. According to the University of Kentucky, these flies can target humans who are outside, and the intensity of their attack varies from year to year. Bites can be painful and cause bleeding, swelling, irritation, or an allergic reaction. Swelling and irritation should disappear in a day or two.

You probably won’t feel pain when a bedbug bites, but you may see three or more clustered red marks, often forming a line. Some people develop a mild or severe allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva between 24 hours and 3 days later. This can result in a raised, red skin bump or welt that’s intensely itchy and inflamed for several days.

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Mosquito Bites

Cases of EEE are rare but deadly. For people infected with EEE, 30 percent do not survive, and many who do develop neurological problems. While there was only one case reported in the United States in 2022, there were 38 cases in 2019, including 15 individuals who died from the condition, according to the CDC. Most of the cases have been reported in the Northeast.

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Brown Recluse Spider Bites Need Immediate Medical Attention

Rocky Mountain spotted fever from a tick bite is rare, with about 2,500 cases per year in the United States. It causes a fever, a headache, muscle aches, and a skin rash. The rash of pinpoint red spots begins on the ankles and wrists after a few days of fever, but later the rash spreads to the rest of the body; in some people, a rash never develops. Although this infection can be severe — and even fatal — it is preventable and can be successfully treated with prompt medical care, according to the CDC.

You may notice that bug bites pick up in the summer, when you’re outside more often and exposing more skin, but they can occur any time of year—especially if you happen to be preyed upon inside of your home. (Spiders, bed bugs, and fleas don’t hibernate in the winter, sadly.) There are ways to deter the critters from coming your way, especially if you use insect repellent or bug spray, but there’s no perfect solution to ward off the pests.

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How Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Another emerging concern is a species of mosquito found in Florida, called Aedes scapularis. Previously found mostly in the Caribbean and Latin America, research indicates the mosquito is now well established in Florida. The invasive species has been found in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, according to one report . It’s unclear if the Aedes scapularis mosquitos in Florida are spreading any types of disease, but elsewhere, they have been shown to spread some viruses, including the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) and the one that causes yellow fever.

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Another type of tick to avoid is the lone star tick. It’s found mainly in the southern United States, but also in some eastern states. It can transmit several viruses, the CDC notes. Most notably, allergic reactions associated with consumption of red meat have been reported by people who’ve been bitten by these ticks, according to the CDC.

Although it’s not always possible to know which bug is to blame for your latest bite (or bites), you can often get a pretty good idea based on your skin, the site of the sting, and a few other clues. Ready to get to the bottom of your bug bite mystery? Here are pictures of the most common bug bites to keep on your radar.

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Here Are 8 Common Bug Bites And How You Can Recognize Them

Unfortunately, experience shows us that almost all bug bites look strikingly similar. In fact, experts say that it’s hard to positively identify the offending insect unless you actually catch it in the act. Everyone’s immune system reacts to bug bites and stings differently, producing unique symptoms in each victim, from swelling to itching to pain.

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Black flies (sometimes called buffalo gnats or “no-see-ums”) are also common throughout the United States and can bite (though they’re not known to spread disease), according to Spokane Regional Health District. They’re small in size and usually bite around the head, particularly the eyes, ears, and scalp. Their bites can cause swelling, numbness, and soreness that can last for several days.

Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite occur within a few hours and include fever, chills, itching, nausea, and sweating. Because some people will have a serious reaction that can lead to kidney failure, seizure, and coma, it’s important to get medical care at once, according to MedlinePlus. Be sure to seek medical attention immediately if you could have been bitten by a poisonous spider; call 911 or America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222.

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