PESKY BUG BITES

Ouch! They are downright annoying but can also lead to some more serious health issues like malaria, dengue fever, Lyme disease or West Nile virus. Scratching a bug bite until it bleeds can also lead to infection. Hot weather means fewer clothes, more bugs and more bug bites. Bug bites can range in size from barely there specks to massive welts. Bug bite size does not correlate to bug or bug size. The idea that the size of the bite is determined by the bug is a misleading urban myth, that’s why most of the times just by looking at the bitten area it is difficult for your dermatologists to determine the bug’s specific species.

Initially the “cause” of a bug bite seems pretty straightforward. However the bug’s decision-making process is more complicated than just easy access to human blood. There are two major reasons why people get bitten by bugs, one: Carbon dioxide production, and second: the lipid mix on the surface of the skin. Mosquitos find humans by determining where carbon dioxide is being produced. As humans, producing carbon dioxide is pretty much unavoidable (we can’t exactly stop breathing to prevent a mosquito bite). Each person’s lipid mixture is a bit more varied. Everyone has a different composition of lipids on the surface of the skin. This mixture is made up of cholesterol, triglycerides, ceramides and other fats and certain lipid mixtures are more appealing to bugs. This is why it is common for some people to get bitten more than others.

Pesky Bug Bite

Prevention And Treatment

Unfortunately, your skin’s lipid mix is based on genetics. You can’t change your DNA, but there are some preventative measures that everyone can take to avoid summer bites. The CDC recommends using bug repellents that contain DEET, picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. If you are into all organic and natural repellant try Para’Kito a green and safe solution to repel bugs. In addition it is important, especially in the bug season to sleep inside or in a screened in area (like a tent).

If you have a bug bite that is unusually itchy or feels painful, contact your doctor or dermatologist.

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