It's that time of year when those pesky insects come out from hiding only to drive you up the frigging wall. At least they have gone crazy where I live. Those bastard fruit flies are driving me crazy...they are all up in my glass of wine every time I go to take a sip! I know, I know, fruit flies don't really lead to a whole bunch of bites, but they still drive me crazy.
Sorry, just a little bitter...
Moving on - horseflies, black flies, mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs, and sand flies, to name a handful, are common insects that lead to those annoying bites.
None of the insects listed are poisonous. A substance in the spit from their mouth is irritating to your skin. If you have an allergic reaction to the insect bite or if the bite is infected, the site may turn into a swollen and painful sore. Fleas are somewhat different in such a way that they do not even have to bite you for an allergic reaction to occur...just walking across your skin will do the job (gross!).
Once the insect bites you, the first thing you should do is clean the bite by using plain ol' soap and water (hydrogen peroxide works too). If the bite is too annoying, after cleaning it up, you can rub a cream, ointment, or lotion on the affected site. I prefer creams and lotions because they are less messy than ointments. Some examples of OTC medications include Benadryl, hydrocortisone, Calamine, or Caladryl.
If a large area of your body is covered in bites, then you can take an antihistamine by mouth like Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin. Benadryl is the best over-the-counter option for clearing up the itching, swelling, and pain caused by the bite, but it causes drowsiness in a big way so Zyrtec or Claritin may be better choices if you need to stay awake!
If your reaction to the bite is so severe that your throat starts swelling and you cannot breathe, you need to seek medical attention right away. Good luck with battling the craze of the summertime insects. Let me know if you have any ideas on how to fix my fruit fly problem!