What kind of bug bite?
April 12, 2005 5:24 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, I discovered a bug bite that itched like a mosquito bite. Today, it hurts. Help me identify the culprit.

Although it is far too early here in Northeast Ohio to be getting bit by mosquitos, I wasn't too concerned when I got some kind of itchy bug bite yesterday. However, I woke up this morning and the bite (on my upper leg) is painful to the touch and hurts when I walk, move, etc. The bite is about the size of a nickel and pink and puffy. I would like to avoid calling the doctor about this but also don't want to ignore some sort of poisonous spider bite. Google hasn't turned up much of use. Any ideas on what it could be?
posted by amro to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Google "brown recluse". I think Ohio is kinda far north for them, but I think I heard of bites as far north as Michigan. The key is if you start to see a small dark patch in the middle that starts to grow. If so, that is dying flesh and you need serious antibiotics to stop it.

Brown recluse spiders are common here in Texas and I know several people who have been bitten, none of which were as bad as the horror stories you see on websites. Still, if that's what it is, you don't wanna mess around.

I've been bitten several times by what I was afraid was a recluse, but thankfully it never was. But if it is something nasty, that's one of the likely culprits.
posted by Doohickie at 5:46 AM on April 12, 2005

It probably is a spider bite, but it could be any one of thousands of spiders and is probably not a brown recluse. Most likely a wolf spider. If it is the bite of a brown recluse, you will soon know it and be forced to seek treatment because of the spiking fever, immense swelling, and pain. If it is one of the many other spiders, treat it like any bug bite, maybe using some ice to numb the area.

Don't panic about recluses. They are the 'flesh-eating virus OMG!! Anthrax OMG!!' of the insect world -- the ill-informed fear we are encouraged to have based on local nightly news telecasts. One of my co-workers was bitten by one and, though she was uncomortable for a couple weeks, she didn't come anywhere near dying. Don't panic - read the Straight Dope.
posted by Miko at 6:25 AM on April 12, 2005

I don't think it's a brown recluse bite, but you should still probably get it looked at anyways. Brown recluse bites usually get a red ring around them, and can cause anything from myalgias to nausea, vomiting, and fever. The more savory of the symptoms (and by savory, I mean not at all) are necrosis of subcutaneous tissue and sometimes lesions. (I have twisted interest in the brown recluse, probably because I'm so scared of them.)

It sounds like an allergic reaction to the insect bite or sting , but IANAD, so you should at least give your physician a call.
posted by jackofsaxons at 6:30 AM on April 12, 2005

When I've found myself in that situation, I went to the recluse websites, figured out what to look for, then sat tight. In my case, it always got better. If it started looking like a recluse bite and/or gets worse, then it would time for the doctor.
posted by Doohickie at 7:31 AM on April 12, 2005

Thanks for all your help, everyone. I will keep an eye on it, but after checking out those links I have a feeling it is probably just a strong reaction to an insect bite and not the work of a poisonous spider.
posted by amro at 9:45 AM on April 12, 2005

For spider bites - I have never worried about poisonous spiders as the bites only itch and hurt, the swelling is pretty localized, and I have never had other symptoms like nausea - I just take Benadryl or whatever over-the-counter allergy meds are at hand, and put ice on the bite.
Once I told my mom when I had one and she insisted I go to the doctor for OMG flesh-eating spider bit reasons, and the doctor told me ... take Benadryl and put ice on it.
posted by librarina at 9:59 AM on April 12, 2005

And also note that there is Benadryl cream which can be applied locally. In the future, putting this stuff on as soon as you realize you've been bitten will greatly limit the swelling and irritation. Here in Texas we have fire ants, and whenever they get me or someone in my family, the first thing we do is slather on lots of Benadryl cream, then go with the Bendadryl pills.
posted by Doohickie at 8:57 PM on April 14, 2005

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