Summer stings: what to do

Skin itching is a frequent topic in dermatologists’ offices during the spring and summer seasons. The explanation is clear, since at this time of the year we are exposed to the outdoors, often in a rural or rural environment, and we also do without certain clothing, so we leave most of the skin surface unhidden.

Skin stings
Arthropod bites

Although in most cases the bites are simply annoying and temporary, we should not underestimate their importance, as they can sometimes become more complicated.

Bacterial superinfection is a relatively frequent complication, favored by scratching. The germs involved are usually those that are common in bacterial skin infections and can be treated with topical antibiotics, although sometimes oral antibiotics are necessary. It should be suspected if the appearance of the bite worsens: increased redness, swelling, pain or oozing pus.

Sometimes bites produce exaggerated inflammatory reactions, which may be limited to the area of the bite or even extend beyond, often depending on the individual’s special immune response, not so much on the agent causing the bite. Sometimes these inflammatory reactions are persistent and may present in the form of flare-ups.

stings with blisters
Exaggerated reaction to stings with blistering of the skin

It should not be forgotten that they can be a form of disease transmission, in this case it is said that the agent causing the bite acts as a vector, since it “transports” and inoculates the germ causing the infection. They may be serious diseases that require specific treatment. As you may already know, this happens with the Zika virus, which is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, but there are countless examples.

A dreaded complication of stings is a severe allergic reaction, which can even be fatal. We have all heard of cases associated with wasp or bee stings. It should be suspected if the bite is followed by general malaise, loss of consciousness, respiratory distress, dizziness, generalized skin lesions… and it is essential to go as soon as possible to a medical center for treatment. Patients with this known allergy usually carry self-administered adrenaline, which is the medication needed to overcome a severe reaction.

The best way to avoid bites is to use protective clothing and repellent. Remember that if you are going to be outdoors in a rural or country environment it is advisable to wear closed shoes, high socks and long sleeves and legs. Repellents can be applied to exposed skin and some to clothing.

For the treatment of bites there are creams or lotions with anti-itch substances that can alleviate this annoying symptom, although topical corticosteroids are sometimes necessary if the itching or inflammatory reaction is intense.

For more information about stings and their treatment we recommend you to visit this link.

Dr. Beatriz Fleta