woman covered in ant bites

A Bad Bug Bite: When is it time to go to the emergency room?

Most of us have experienced a bug bite in our lifetime, which came with redness, itchiness, and even pain at the bite site–ouch! Most of the time, there is nothing to worry about. However, sometimes, a bug bite may not be that simple, and you may notice an unusual reaction. When you experience a bad bug bite, there are signs it’s time to visit your local emergency room and seek medical help. 

Bug bites are not just a cause of concern during the summer months when you are outside. You or a loved one may encounter an insect at any time of the year, even inside your home, as some insects do not hibernate.

Note: Even though most bug bites are not preventable, if you know you are going to be near bugs, wear bug spray.  

Signs it is Time to Go to the Emergency Room For a Bug Bite

  • Fever: A fever is your body’s defense against foreign substances. A fever paired with chills means your body is fighting something internally.  
  • Swelling: Moderate swelling with a bug bite can be expected. However, if you begin to experience swelling that moves outward, it may be a sign of an allergic reaction or infection spreading. Also, swelling paired with blisters may be a sign of venom in the body from a bite. 
  • Redness and Puss: Bug bites are known for itching, but it is important not to scratch! We know, easier said than done. But, scratching a bite can cause an infection, creating redness and puss or even a red line outlining the wound site. 
  • Oozing Liquid from Bite: If your bite has crust or an oozing liquid, this may be a sign of a more serious condition like impetigo

What Can Happen if You Do Not Seek Treatment For a Bad Bug Bite

  • Allergic Reactions: As the reaction to a bug bite worsens, you may discover you are allergic to the bug that bit you. Spreading pain, swelling, and trouble breathing are signs of an allergic reaction. Without the proper care in an allergic reaction situation, anaphylaxis may set in, causing symptoms to react over the entire body.
  • Serious Complications: Allergic reactions are not the only possible outcome of a bad bug bite. There are other troublesome issues. Some bugs have poisonous venom that release into the body upon contact. Also, bugs can carry fatal diseases. It is important to listen to your body, and if you are experiencing symptoms, you must seek medical attention immediately to avoid serious medical conditions.

4 Common Types of Bites that Send People to the Emergency Room

Millions of insects can bite or sting. Most are non-life-threatening, just causing some serious itching. Here is the most common type of bug bites:

  • Mosquitos
  • Spiders
  • Ticks
  • Fire Ants

How to Treat Bites at Home

If you are experiencing mild bug bite symptoms and showing no signs of an allergic reaction or other serious conditions, your bug bite can be treated at home. Here are the steps to treating a bug bite at home:

  1. Wash the bite site with warm water and soap.
  2. Use an ice pack to reduce swelling.
  3. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  4. Apply an over-the-counter itch relief cream or take Benadryl to relieve itching.

24/7 Emergency Bite Care

East Valley ER & Hospital provides 24/7/365 emergency bite care. If you are feeling any uncomfortableness after a bug bite or sting, from allergic reactions to severe symptoms, our expert team can accurately treat and quickly alleviate your symptoms. For expert pediatric and adult emergency care, visit our premier hospital facility!

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, East Valley ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.