What should be included in the patient information about insect bites?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: Boyd (Bo) D Burns, DO, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Biting insects are ubiquitous in nearly all parts of the world, yet certain measures can be taken to minimize risk of exposure. Periodic pest control may eliminate nests and minimize reproduction of biting insects.

Wear protective clothing (ie, long pants, long sleeves), especially when outdoors. Many insects are incapable of biting through clothing. Additionally, light-colored clothing appears to be less attractive to many biting insects, including mosquitos. [14] Avoid dark colors or brightly colored floral patterns. Wear protective footwear. Wear gloves when working with soil or in areas of heavy infestation.

Avoid use of heavy perfumes, scented soaps, sprays, or lotions that may attract insects. Be aware of surroundings; for example, avoid dense vegetation or animals suspected of carrying fleas, chiggers, or ticks. Prudent use of insect repellent can help minimize exposure to insect bites and stings. [15] Be aware of the potential for bees or other foraging insects to enter opened soft drink containers that are left idle.

For a guide to recognizing common stinging hymenoptera, please see this CDC pictorial guide.

For a guide to recognizing common scorpion species in the United States, please see the CDC pictorial key to common US scorpion species.

For patient education resources, see the First Aid and Injuries Center. Also see the patient education articles Insect Bites, Allergy: Insect Sting, Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylactic Shock), Black Widow Spider Bite, Brown Recluse Spider Bite, and Ticks.

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