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Bug bites that itch and swell.

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I have been getting what look to be bug bites for about a month and a half now. I only get about one or two at a time about once or twice a week. Whenever I get them they itch like crazy and they swell up for a couple days. They start out like mosquito bites and then the redness spreads and then in a couple days goes away but they still itch for weeks. Any idea what it could be?

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 32 Doctors Online


It seems that you are allergic to the bites you are getting. The bites may be from multiple sources. It can be red ants, mosquitoes, ticks, mites or louse. It is important to identify the source of the bites. It is especially important to identify tick bite as it may lead to other health manifestations.

Ant bites are by far the easiest to identify as they are easily seen. People can spontaneously develop allergy to ant bites and that can lead to swelling and itch.

Tick bites usually occur outdoors and in the woods. The bites have either have a characteristic bull's eye appearance or may involve hand and foot depending on the type of tick. Both the forms need immediate identification and treatment as it causes severe medical conditions like Lyme disease or endemic typhus.

Louse bites are usually from pets or sexually transmitted .They can easily be observed on the skin.

I would suggest you the following.

1) Take tab. Cetirizine 50 mg to relieve itch and pain at the site. Also apply topical povidone ointment.

2) Apply cold compress on the bite to reduce the inflammation and swelling. It also relieves the pain.

3) If you suspect a tick bite, consult your physician for serological blood test. If the blood test is positive, it can be treated with appropriate antibiotics.

4) Avoid the source of the bites, like pet dogs, camping or ants. They usually subside by itself after sometime.

5) Wash the rash or boil with antiseptic Dettol solution to prevent any super infection

Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
Dr. John Monheit and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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