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Insect Bites

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Insect Bites
Insect Bites
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment

Insect bites
Allergy to venom of stinging insects is relatively common. In fact, as case reports indicate, between 40 and 100 Americans die annually from anaphylaxis due to insect bites, although this number may be markedly underestimated. But does everyone experience such a drastic reaction to insect bites or stings? And what is the difference between a bite or a sting?

What is an insect bite?
Insect bites are puncture wounds, or lacerations, caused by insects. When an insect bites, it releases a form of saliva that can cause painful symptoms or an immediate skin reaction. For example, bites from fire ants are usually painful and can result in raised, irritated skin. Bites caused by mosquitoes, fleas, and mites on the other hand, are more likely to cause itching than pain.

Types of insect bites and illnesses

Chiggers and mites can cause localized itchiness and swelling.

The common housefly can spread human intestinal infections (such as typhoid and bacillary and amoebic dysentery) by contamination of human food.

Deer fly bites can spread Tularemia.

Lice can transmit epidemic relapsing fever and/or and the epidemic typhus rickettsiosis.

Mosquitoes spread viral diseases (such as equine encephalitis, malaria dengue and yellow fever in humans and other animals).

The sandfly can carry and transmit Leishmaniasis.

Tsetse flies can spread sleeping sickness in humans and a group of cattle diseases in Africa.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses.

Bites vs. Stings
The differences between insect stings and bites are due to the nature of the insect's defense or predatory natures. Venomous insects, for example, attack and inject painful, toxic venom through stingers as a defense mechanism to warn. Non-venomous insects bite and usually inject anti-coagulant saliva to feed. Although none of these insect are actually poisonous, some saliva can irritate or provoke a reaction, and others can introduce infections when they bite. Severe reactions such as anaphylactic shock only occur from venom stings.

Insect bites are caused by a range of different insects. Learn how to avoid insect bites in the next section on Risk Factors and Causes next.  Plus more info which insects bite and which ones sting - do you know what type of bites are spider bites?

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Tags: insect bites, insect, bites, encephalitis, yellow fever, anaphylactic, Lyme Disease, anaphylaxis, infections, sleeping, symptoms, swelling, Diseases, Allergy, amoebic, ticks, fever, skin, food, ants
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