Which clinical history findings are characteristic of 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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Answer

Most patients are aware of insect bites when they occur or shortly thereafter, but because it is such a common occurrence, the exposure is typically dismissed unless a severe or systemic reaction occurs.

Reactions to bites may be delayed due to the host being asleep or because the saliva of some micropredators may contain an anesthetic secreted to allow uninterrupted blood-feeding.

Patients who present with a history of homelessness or of staying in homeless shelters may have an exposure to organisms such as bedbugs. [4, 16, 17] Alternatively, patients with impairment from mental illness may also be susceptible to infestation with insect parasites.

Exposure to feral animals or even to domesticated animals, such as livestock or house pets, may predispose patients to exposure to biting insects such as fleas, bedbugs, [4, 18, 17] or lice.


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