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Common Questions - Insect Bites or Stings

What do mosquito bites look like?

Mosquito bites typically look like small red lumps on your skin. These lumps are usually very itchy. In some people, mosquito bites can look like fluid-filled blisters.

What do mite bites look like?

Mite bites tend to look like red lumps on the skin. These lumps are usually very itchy. Sometimes, mite bites can cause blisters.

Mites can also burrow under the skin and cause a condition called scabies.

What do flea bites look like?

Flea bites usually look like small, itchy red lumps. These lumps can sometimes be grouped in lines or clusters. If you have been bitten by a flea, you may develop blisters.

Fleas from cats and dogs tend to bite below the knee. However, if you have been stroking a cat or dog with fleas, you may also get flea bites on your forearms.

How long do spider bites last?

Thousands of spider species exist, but only a few can bite through human skin. However, if you are bitten by a spider, you may notice small puncture marks that can be red, swollen and painful.

The most serious bites can turn a dark red, blue, or black, dry out, and form a sore. This sore often heals after a few weeks, but can last for months

Some spider bites are harmless, but sometimes spider bites can become infected or cause a severe allergic reaction. If you have been bitten by a spider, or think you have, see a doctor or go to a hospital immediately.

Do spider bites itch?

Spider bites can cause a small, red, raised bump on the skin, which may itch or burn.

What kind of bug bite leaves a bruise?

Different bug bites can leave a bruise. These include:

  • tick bites
  • brown spider bites
  • horsefly bites

Why do mosquito bites itch?

When a mosquito bites a person, it injects its saliva into the person’s blood. Your body recognises the substances in the saliva as foreign and launches an immune response to fight the foreign substance.

A substance called histamine is released by the body as part of this immune response and this causes the bite to itch.

What are good home remedies for insect bites?

You can treat an insect bite or sting at home by:

  • removing the sting, tick or hairs if it is still in the skin
  • washing the bite area with soap and water
  • applying a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes
  • raising the affected area, if possible, to help reduce swelling
  • not scratching the area or bursting any blisters to reduce the risk of infection

Avoid using vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, and other home remedies you may have heard about. Many of these remedies are not recognised treatments and are unlikely to help with insect bites.

How can I stop mosquito bites from swelling?

If you have been bitten by a mosquito, regularly applying a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or ice pack to the bite may help to relieve any swelling.

Speak to your pharmacist about antihistamine tablets and other non-prescription medicines that may help to improve swelling.

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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