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Reactions and allergies to common bug bites

Reactions and allergies to common bug bites

Bug bites are common and usually cause only minor discomfort. However, some bites can cause significant skin reactions that persist for weeks or months.

Midges and mosquitoes

Bites from mosquitoes and midges can cause small, itchy lumps on the skin. If you are especially sensitive to bites from these bugs, you may break out in blisters or circular, raised lumps.


Bites from fleas usually appear in clusters on the skin below the knee. However, if you have been stroking or holding an animal that has fleas, the bites may also appear on your forearms. If you suffer from an allergic reaction, the bites may cause intensely itchy, red lumps on the skin.


Tick bites usually cause a red lump at the site of the bite. In some cases, they may cause swelling, itching, blistering and bruising of the skin. Ticks can also cause a bacterial infection called Lyme disease, which can have serious, long-term effects if left untreated.


Horsefly bites are often painful, as these flies cut your skin, rather than just pierce it. In addition to dizziness, weakness and welts at the site of the bite, some people can suffer from an allergic reaction. Horsefly bites often result in a rash and swollen skin.

You are more likely to encounter bug bites if you work and play outdoors. Hiking and camping make you a prime target for bugs. Applying insect repellent and wearing pants and a long-sleeved shirt will help to keep bugs at bay. If you happen to get bitten, simply wash the area with clean, running water and place a cold compress on top of the bite to reduce any swelling. If you experience a more serious reaction, visit a hospital for emergency treatment and follow up with your physician.

If you are travelling abroad this summer, remember that some bugs carry diseases. Get all the recommended vaccinations and medications, and remember to get a Blue Cross travel insurance quote online before your trip.


The opinions expressed in this blog are those of its authors and do not represent those of Québec Blue Cross. Material in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute professional care or advice. The inclusion of any links does not imply endorsement of the linked site or its affiliates, or any information, content, products, services, advertising or other materials presented on or through such web sites.