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Tick Bite Prevention and When to Seek Emergency Care for Insect Bites

Tick Bite Prevention and When to Seek Emergency Care for Insect Bites

Summer in Texas means more time outdoors, but it also means more encounters with ticks and insects. Practicing tick bite prevention and knowing when a bite needs emergency care can help keep your family safe and healthy.

Understanding Tick and Insect Bites

Ticks and insects are a part of life, especially during the summer. While most bites are harmless, some can lead to serious health issues. Knowing the difference is key to ensuring your family stays safe.

Common Insects and Ticks in Texas

In Texas, you’ll commonly find ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, and bees. Each can cause different reactions, from mild discomfort to serious health problems. Here’s a quick rundown:

Recognizing a Problematic Bite

Most insect and tick bites cause mild symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling. However, some bites can cause more serious symptoms that require emergency care. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Severe allergic reactions – If you or a family member experiences difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat after a bite or sting, seek emergency care immediately. These are signs of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.
  • Infection signs – Redness, warmth, pus, or increased pain around the bite area can indicate an infection. If you notice these symptoms, it’s important to get medical attention to prevent the infection from spreading.
  • Fever and flu-like symptoms – If you or your child develops a fever, headache, muscle aches, or fatigue after a bite, it could be a sign of a tick-borne illness. These symptoms warrant a visit to the ER for evaluation and treatment.
  • Persistent pain or swelling – If pain or swelling doesn’t improve or gets worse over time, it could indicate a more serious reaction or infection.

Tick Bites: When to Worry

Ticks are notorious for carrying diseases. If you find a tick on your body, it’s important to remove it carefully and monitor for symptoms. Here’s what to do:

  • Remove the tick – Use tweezers with fine tips to grip the tick as close to the skin as possible, then pull upward with steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking the tick.
  • Clean the area – Wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
  • Watch for symptoms – Monitor the bite area for a rash and watch for flu-like symptoms. If you develop a rash, fever, or joint pain, seek medical attention.

Insect Bites: Handling Allergic Reactions

Most insect bites and stings are harmless, but they can cause allergic reactions in some people. Here’s what to do if someone has a severe reaction:

  • Stay calm – Keep the person calm and seated. Panic can worsen symptoms.
  • Use an epinephrine auto-injector – If the person has a known allergy and carries an epinephrine auto-injector (like an EpiPen), use it immediately.
  • Call 911 – Seek emergency medical help, even if symptoms seem to improve after using the auto-injector. Anaphylaxis can have a second phase of symptoms.

Preventing Tick and Insect Bites

Prevention is the best way to protect your family from tick and insect bites. Here are some simple tips:

  • Use insect repellent – Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin to exposed skin.
  • Wear protective clothing – When hiking or spending time in wooded areas, wear long sleeves, pants, and hats to minimize skin exposure.
  • Check for ticks – After spending time outdoors, check your body and your children’s bodies for ticks. Pay close attention to hidden areas like the scalp, behind the ears, and under the arms.
  • Keep your yard tidy – Remove leaf litter, tall grasses, and brush from around your home to reduce tick habitats. Use tick control products in your yard if necessary.

What to Expect in the ER

If you need to visit the ER for a bite, knowing what to expect can help ease your worries. Here’s what typically happens:

  • Triage – Upon arrival, a nurse will assess the severity of your symptoms.
  • Medical history – Be prepared to share information about the bite, symptoms, and any allergies.
  • Examination and testing – The doctor will examine the bite and may order tests to check for infections or diseases.
  • Treatment – Treatment may include medications for allergies, antibiotics for infections, or other necessary interventions.
  • Follow-up – You may be advised to follow up with your primary care physician for further care and monitoring.

Protect Your Family from Tick and Insect Bites This Summer

Tick and insect bites are common, especially during the summer months in Texas. While most bites are harmless, some can lead to serious health issues that require emergency care. By knowing when to seek help and how to prevent bites, you can keep your family safe and enjoy all the outdoor activities Texas has to offer.

For more information on tick bite prevention, or if you’re unsure about symptoms, don’t hesitate to go to Physicians Premier. We’re open 24/7, we never close, and we’re always here for your family and the community. We’re here to help and provide the care you need.


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“Spiders: Brown Recluse and Black Widow,” Mississippi State University Extension,
“Allergies to bites and stings,” Better Health Channel,
“Tick bites: First aid,” Mayo Clinic,
“How to Prevent Mosquito and Tick Bites,’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,