About Insect Bites
The most common insect bites that we suffer from in the Malta are mosquitoes. When an insect bites, it releases a form of saliva that can lead to symptoms such as inflammation, blisters and itchy irritation. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of insect involved and the sensitivity of the person who is bitten.
What Are The Symptoms?
Insect bites are normally very itchy and form a lump. If you look closely you will see a small hole, which is the actual bite. The lump may be small with inflammation around it or it may be filled with fluid (this is called a weal). Bites should clear up within 1-2 days. However, you should see consult your doctor if the symptoms do not go away after about 2 days, you develop rash, experience flu-like symptoms, have swollen glands or if the bite starts to swell up, it might be infected.
How Should I Treat Insect Bites?
Clean the bite wound with soap and water and dry gently. Any swelling or itching should clear up within 1-2 days.
Steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, or antihistamines (cream or tablets) are available over-the-counter at pharmacies and will help to ease any itchiness and inflammation.
Try to avoid scratching the bite as you may damage the skin and allow bacteria to get in.
Remember: always check with your pharmacist before using medication to treat your condition.
Brown’s Pharmacy’s Top Tips For Preventing Insect Bites
- If you are going to be outside at a time of the day when insects are particularly active, such as at dawn or dusk, cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers;
- Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing, so wear loose-fitting clothing;
- Apply insect repellent to exposed areas of skin. Repellents that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) are considered to be the most effective;
- Avoid using products with strong perfumes, such as scented body lotion and deodorants, as these attract insects;
- Avoid flowering plants, outdoor areas where food is served, rubbish and compost areas;
- Remove and destroy insect nests that are in your house.