All about Gnat Bites

Gnats are one of the worst problems of springtime and gnat bites happen just about every time you venture outside. There is nothing in the world that itches more than gnat bites. They are equal to mosquito bites when it comes to aggravation. And they are even worse to deal with, because while mosquitoes can be kept outside by a good screen, gnats are so small they can work their way through the holes in just about any screen pattern.

Many people have severe allergies to gnat bites. The word gnat has come to mean any tiny, biting insect, such as what some people call no-see-ums or black flies. Gnats are nasty and they eat your blood just like mosquitoes. They hang around bodies of water and under trees. They swarm around your head incessantly.

To avoid gnat bites, stop going outside during their most active periods of dawn and dusk. Cover your arms and legs. Stay away from water. You can use citronella lotion on your skin to repel gnats. You can also use insect repellants with Deet ™. If you do have gnat bites, wash the skin at the sight of the bite, and then apply an antiseptic and anti-itch cream.

Some people use an ice pack on the bite to keep swelling down. If you don’t have an antiseptic or other medication, you can apply baking soda, calamine lotion, vinegar, or toothpaste to the bite. Rubbing alcohol will also work well. If the bite area starts to get red and swell, you may be allergic to gnat bites. Take an antihistamine, like Benadryl.

If you still have swelling and pain, it’s time to see the doctor. You may need to have an antibiotic or a more powerful prescription antihistamine. It is possible for gnat bites to develop into bad infections, so don’t put off getting treatment. Sometimes you can have a large swollen bite even if you don’t remember being bitten. Some people swell up a lot and some not at all.

Bacterial infections can be a big problem when you are dealing with insects like gnats and mosquitoes which suck blood. They can leave bacteria in a wound when you are bitten. Plus, if you have any kind of open wound, gnats are immediately attracted to you by the scent of your blood.

Dogs, cats and other mammals are as apt to suffer from gnat bites as humans. If they spend a lot of their day outside, make sure that they don’t have any gnat bites which have become infected. Cover any wounds they may have with a bandage to keep them clean and insects out. Dogs and cats who have lots of bites can need antiseptics and anti-itch medications just like humans.

If your yard is severely infested with gnats, you might want to try using some insect repellants to get rid of as much of the population as you can. While some insecticides are dangerous, so are the bites of blood-sucking insects. Just make sure to read all of the label instructions, and keep children and pets out of the area if you intend to spray insecticides.

Most gnat bites are not so serious that they require treatment. Try not to scratch them and they should disappear in around forty-eight hours. A steroid cream from your local drugstore should stop the itching or at least decrease it. If you know you are allergic to gnats or other insects, you can carry a portable kit with you to inject yourself with epinephrine. A severe allergy could cause respiratory problems and even death.

When spring comes, gnat bites are pretty much unavoidable. Use a good insect repellent and if you do have an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical treatment.


 

 


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