What the hell kind of insect bite is this?
November 30, 2011 11:06 PM   Subscribe

What the hell kind of insect bite is this?

This is the back of my arm. Three days ago it seemed like a regular mosquito bite. Itched a lot; I scratched. Yesterday it was larger, hard, warm, and itched still. Tonight there's a very red inner bump, a larger (2 inches) reddish bump around it, the whole thing is super warm and hard. And still itches.

I never had an allergic reaction to mosquito bites before. Could this be my first? Or does it look like something else you have seen before? I have a doctor's appointment for tomorrow afternoon, just thought I'd poke you all for some healthy speculatin' in the meantime.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Well it certainly looks like a mosquito bite. But the way you describe it--being larger and hard--it could be a horsefly bite. My wife had one a few years ago. It was pretty painful and took quite a while to heal, a few weeks. Though if it was a horsefly bite you probably would've noticed at the time.
posted by zardoz at 11:09 PM on November 30, 2011

it looks like you might have a cellulitis (skin infection) from a mosquito bite. Trace a marker line around that lighter red area so that you can see the rate it's growing at. You can wait until the afternoon to get your antibiotics if needed when your doctor evaluates it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:31 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

p.s. unless you're immunocompromised for some reason, or if the area of redness gets bigger a LOT faster, or you start getting fever/chills and overall malaise. then I'd go get seen sooner.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:32 PM on November 30, 2011

Whatever bit you it looks like the bite is infected. Stop scratching it!

I react to mosquito bites and its an immediate reaction which goes away in a few hours. Unless you scratch it so much it gets infected! You could have been bitten by a spider or tick too. I'd definitely ask the doctor about Lyme's disease when you see them if you're in a Lymes area.

Like treehorn said, I'd also keep an eye on it in the meantime in case it decides to get worse.
posted by fshgrl at 11:37 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

On my first glance that is possibly a lyme disease bite. Search google images for "lyme disease". If in the next day or two you get a ring around the red patch as seen in the google images, get to a doctor or walk in clinic ***right away*** and get the antibiotic. Probably a simple 14 day course of amoxicillin, which luckily is a $4 generic.

If you get the bullseye type "rash" typical of lyme disease, do not wait, get the antibiotic right away. It is not something to wait even a few days.
posted by caclwmr4 at 11:39 PM on November 30, 2011

That larger area which is just slightly redder than the rest of your arm made me think of Lyme as well. The pictures I've seen of the Lyme rash are a bit more dramatic... if it turns into that you do need to get in to the doctor ASAP, untreated Lyme disease can have some long-lasting effects.
posted by yohko at 12:47 AM on December 1, 2011

That looks an awful lot like the time I got a secondary infection after a spider bite. The doctor said the inner circle was the infection from the poison (the darker red, harder area) and the outer (pinker, not as hard but still inflamed) area was a subcutaneous infection from the bacteria pushed under the skin by the spider's fangs when he/she bit me. Mine took a few days to develop, but the outer circle grew quickly (a couple inches in a day, at the largest measuring... maybe 3.5x4.5 inches or so). I was prescribed antibiotics, and antihistamine, and bedrest and was find in a few days.

Someone mentioned Lymes... I have had that, too (yeah, bugs like me), but with the visible, itchy bite it's pretty damn unlikely. Ticks that carry Lymes are too small to see, and so are their bites. They also like to crawl to a moist area and bite there -- like an underarm, belly button, behind the knee, etc.

Which arm is that on? If it's on your right arm, and growing fast (like, if the outer circle gets measurably larger), consider going to the ER. Erm... I'm not so good at the sciences, so please correct me, but I think it's like this: Since the blood from the heart has one smaller route that goes around the right arm, an infection in the right arm can more quickly get into the blood stream there and make it back to the heart, resulting in some Bad Stuff. If it's on your left arm, you should be fine seeing the doctor tomorrow afternoon (that's where mine was, and mine was bigger, and I saw the doc the next morning).
posted by DoubleLune at 12:53 AM on December 1, 2011

For the Lymes, thing, hereis a picture that is not too dissimilar from your infection. Note, however, how in the Lymes picure there is just a rash -- no visible sign of a bite, and in yours, there is a distinct and visible bite. (Even better if you saw the hole(s) where you initially got bit, though it seems too scabbed over to tell.)
posted by DoubleLune at 12:55 AM on December 1, 2011

I had a thing that looked almost exactly like that a couple months ago. The doctor said infected mosquito bite and gave me some antibiotics. I'm all better now. I'd never had a reaction like it before, either.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:54 AM on December 1, 2011

It looks like a secondary infection, plus inflammation triggered by scratching.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:54 AM on December 1, 2011

My friend had something similar, and then it turned out to be a MRSA infected spider bite. Get that shit checked out
posted by MangyCarface at 6:40 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Probably an insect bite, depending on where you live, mosquito, spider, flea. You could pick up some triple antibiotic ointment to put on it.
posted by theora55 at 1:53 PM on December 1, 2011

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