How to treat 3 common insect bites

How to treat 3 common insect bites

Insects thrive in the summer because everything they need to feed on is available in ample quantities. This is great for the ecosystem, but can be a nuisance to people everywhere.

“We see an increase in patients in the emergency department with bug bites and rashes,” says Dr. John Piotrowski, emergency medicine physician at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Most do not require serious treatment; however, it’s best to prevent the possibility of being bitten.”

Here are a few bugs you may see outdoors this summer and tips on how to keep them away, as well as, how to treat their stings and bites.

Bees, wasps and yellow jackets

Most bees will not bother you if you do not bother them. Never provoke a bee, especially if it happens to be one of their familiar cousins like a wasp or yellow jacket. Both are not as friendly and will attack without being provoked. Wasps do not lose their stinger when they sting a victim, so they will keep going back for more.

If stung once by any of these, you should be OK, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that if you are allergic to stings or are stung by many at one time, a visit to the emergency room may be needed.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to a sting include itching, hives, tingling inside the mouth, and nausea or vomiting. If you are anaphylactic (highly allergic) to stings, carrying an epi-pen in the summer may be necessary.


Quite possibly the peskiest little fellows you will deal with this summer, mosquito bites result in an irritating itch. These bites can be more serious, as well.

The most common relief for a mosquito bite is calamine lotion, which will relieve the itch. Mosquitoes can; however, transmit more serious diseases, such as encephalitis and West Nile virus.

According to the CDC, symptoms of encephalitis include severe headaches, high fever and mental disturbances such as confusion, irritability or even more serious issues like tremors, stupor and coma. If any of these symptoms occur after being bitten,  go to the nearest emergency room. According to the World Health Organization, severe West Nile virus and encephalitis can be deadly.

Mosquitoes can also transmit heartworm disease to dogs.


These tiny insectes feed on the blood of animals. They do so by embedding themselves in skin and must be removed.

If they are not removed, ticks can affect the heart, brain, nervous system, muscles and joints, according to the CDC. The simple way to remove a tick is to use tweezers to pull its entire body out of the skin.

Ticks can carry Lyme disease, which begins with chills, fever and muscle pain which can amplify to paralysis and heart problems, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is important to monitor someone after they have been bitten by a tick to see if any symptoms develop.

If symptoms develop, it is important to contact your physician.

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  1. Lyme doctors are hard to find—-does Advocate have any????

    • Rebecca Lipman

      Hi Jay,
      Advocate does have infectious disease doctors at several of our facilities. That would be where to go when dealing with Lyme Disease. You can go to to find one in your area. Thanks for asking.

About the Author

Rebecca Lipman
Rebecca Lipman

Rebecca Lipman is a current student at Michigan State University (MSU). She is from Buffalo Grove, Illinois; however, her family recently moved to Arizona. Rebecca is therefore someone who travels a lot between her three homes and loves it. At MSU, she is a communications major with a specialization in public relations. She’s also a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the operations manager of a certified non-profit organization called Spartan Global Development Fund. In addition to interning for the Public Affairs and Marketing Department at Advocate Condell Medical Center, Rebecca is a server at an Italian restaurant. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her puppy.