Insects bite: Need to knowOn October 4, 2019 by Lavina Kang
With the arrival of spring and summer, the season for insect bites also begins. It doesn’t matter if you go abroad, go to the beach or the mountains, or stay at home. Everywhere you can end up full of those annoying stings. Even so, there are many options in your hands to try to improve this situation.
In this article we explain what are the most common insect bites in Spain, how to identify them and the tricks to prevent them. And, most importantly, what to do when you have been stung.
The most frequent insect bites in Spain
In winter the insects are asleep or hidden by the low temperatures. That’s why bites are more common in summer. Heat and humidity form the ideal environment for most insects, so homes near rivers and lakes increase the risk further.
In Spain the dangers of insect bites are very low, as most are from mosquitoes that do not transmit dangerous diseases. Their consequences will be no more than a slight swelling and some itching.
Other insects that could sting us are bees and wasps. But these, unlike mosquitoes, do not usually attack if they are not disturbed.
Far less frequent are bites from flies, spiders, ants, bedbugs, ticks and fleas.
Finally, there are the jellyfish, which are not insects, but whose numbers are starting to increase on many Spanish beaches. Their bites can produce very varied effects since there are multiple species, so it is best not to bathe if you see them in the water. In this article we explain how to act if you are stung by a jellyfish.
How do you identify the types of stings?
Common insect bites in our country do not usually cause serious side effects, but it is important to recognize those that can be a health hazard. That is why knowing how to recognise one sting from another is key to being able to act in the most effective and quickest way.
Pictures of insect bites can be helpful in identifying which insect has stung us. However, being clear about the characteristics of the different stings can be helpful when we are in natural environments without internet access.
Next, we review the peculiarities of the most frequent insect bites in Spain:
The mosquito bite usually leaves a localized lump on the skin and an itching sensation that disappears after a few hours. These bites are not usually dangerous, except in cases where the person suffers from a bite allergy.
Bee or wasp
Distinguishing this type of sting is quite easy because you will clearly see a central point in the inflamed area which is the mark of the sting. When bees attack, they lose the sting and it often stays in the skin, so it has to be removed delicately to prevent the venom from irritating us even more. Bee and wasp stings are painful and can cause more serious reactions, especially in children.
These insects can sting us in outdoor places frequented by animals and can sometimes appear in homes transported by our pet. The bites in this case are usually several and concentrated in one area. The effects are swelling and itching that can last for days or weeks.
They usually attack more hidden and humid areas of the body such as the armpits, groin or scalp. As it is a parasite, you will often find the tick still attached to the skin. Yours is more of a painless bite, but leaves the area around it red. You have to be very careful when removing the bug so that its head does not remain in the wound. These insects can carry diseases and it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible to take all the necessary measures.
Bedbugs are often hidden in crevices in furniture or in cracks in walls and floors. In most cases they act at night while we sleep, which is why they are also called bedbugs. As fleas usually produce several bites and most typically 2 or 3 reddish bumps appear in a row.
Some ants can also cause irritation with their bites. In this case the pain is immediate and a blister is produced.
Sting prevention tips
The best way to prevent insect bites is to use repellents. There are several methods we can use depending on the situation.
At home, for example, we can take advantage of the repellent effect of candles, incense, spray, pills and essential oil diffusers. You can also avoid their presence by placing mosquito nets on the windows or closing them, especially at night. Air conditioning has also been shown to repel mosquitoes so close your windows and turn it on.
When going outdoors it is advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially if you are going to the mountains. Caution should be taken especially with children who may have more serious reactions to insect bites. If you are going on a family outing, it is advisable to take insect repellent in your first aid kit, and to wear suitable clothing.
During the holidays, especially if you are in another country, in addition to the above measures it is advisable to find out about the recommended vaccinations. In this way, we can take the appropriate measures to avoid diseases transmitted by insects.
People who suffer from allergies to insect bites and stings should always carry epinephrine.