Other Bites

Numerous other organisms bite and sting. Common bites include those of mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, bedbugs, and flies. Some of these insects are disease vectors, and such diseases are discussed elsewhere in this text. The type and distribution of the lesion produced provide hints as to the causative insect.

For instance, mosquitoes and flies tend to bite exposed skin, producing urticarial pruritic papules. Chiggers ("red bugs") are mites that dwell on the ground. They crawl up clothing and bite in high-temperature areas, usually around elastic bands of socks, shirts, and pants. Their bite produces an intensely itchy papule or vesicle. Fleas jump from the ground or furniture. Thus, their bites are seen on the exposed areas around the ankles. Flea bites may be papular or vesicular. Bedbugs reside within walls and mattresses of homes or hotels and tend to bite victims in rows of three ("breakfast, lunch, and dinner bites"). Insects that bite, but not those that sting, may be repelled by insect repellent, such as diethyltoluamide (DEET). Symptomatic treatment, if necessary, consists of topical corticosteriods and oral antihistamines.

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