Rash That Looks Like Mosquito Bites

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.

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.

Chiggers are found all over the outdoors, including in grassy fields, along lakes and streams, and in forests. It’s the baby chiggers that bite people and animals.

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Some tick bites can be dangerous because the insects may carry disease. Black-legged ticks, formerly known as deer ticks, may carry Lyme disease, and dog ticks can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Up to 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the United States.

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Keeping fingernails short can help prevent skin damage from scratching. Antibiotics may be needed if a skin infection does happen.

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.

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The CDC cautioned Americans that diseases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have soared in recent years.

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However, if you’re allergic to bee, wasp, or hornet stings — or you’ve been stung multiple times — a sting can cause severe allergic reactions, including nausea, rapid heartbeat, swelling, dizziness, hives, and shortness of breath, warns the Mayo Clinic. Call 911, and seek emergency medical treatment if you experience any of these symptoms.

Mites do not usually spread disease, but their bites can irritate the skin and cause intense itching. Itch mites usually feed on insects but will bite other animals, including people. The bites usually go unnoticed until itchy, red marks develop that may look like a skin rash.

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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Hornets typically build their large paper nests in tree hollows, as well as undisturbed spots in barns, attics, and even walls, according to the University of Kentucky. Hornets will defend their nests (and may attack you) if you get too close, so leave the area if you come across one. If you come across a solitary hornet, leave it alone; hornets typically only sting when threatened, the University of Kentucky notes. And if you do get stung, leave the area right away to avoid another attack, Russell says.

Ant bites and stings are typically painful and cause red skin bumps. Some types of ants, like fire ants, are venomous, and their bites can cause a severe allergic reaction. Fire ants bite first to hold on and then sting, giving a sharp pain and a burning sensation. If you’re bitten by fire ants, you may see white, fluid-filled pustules or blisters (pictured) a day or two after the sting. These last three to eight days and may cause scars. The bumps may also be itchy and red, and you may have swelling around the site. It’s important not to scratch or break open the blisters because they can become infected, notes the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Carpenter ant bites are also painful because they spray formic acid into the bite, which causes a burning feeling.

The brown recluse spider is poisonous and usually lives in dark and unused spaces. Some people feel a small sting followed immediately by a sharp pain, while others don’t realize they’ve gotten a brown recluse bite until hours later. Four to eight hours afterward, the bite may become more painful and look like a bruise or blister with a blue-purple area around it. Later, the bite becomes crusty and turns dark. It’s also worth noting that this type of spider is found in several Midwestern states, western parts of some Southern states (including Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia), and the central Southern states (including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri) — and they’re rarely found outside of these areas, according to the University of Kentucky.

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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.

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.

How can you prevent bug bites? Here are some tips from the CDC:

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