Deeper Look: The Things That Bugs Can Do
June 22, 2018
June 22, 2018
No one likes bugs — okay, some people like bugs, but they certainly aren’t popular. And there are good reasons for that. The things that bugs can do to your health aren’t quite proportionate with their size. Despite being so tiny, a bug bite can cause a slew of huge problems. With bugs now crawling everywhere, let’s look at the things bugs can do to you.
Deeper Look: The Things That Bugs Can Do
To most people, bugs are nasty. They’re small, creepy, and can get anywhere. Whether it’s a menacing spider or a thieving ant, few people enjoy having bugs around. Bugs are often aggressive and stealthy, making them perfectly frightening. It’s a reasonable fear — one nasty bug bite can send you to urgent care in a hurry. Whether you find yourself having an allergic reaction to a bee sting or unsure what to make of a sudden rash, it’s important to know what bug bites can do to your body.
We’ve touched on this topic fairly often in the past few weeks, but (again) we have reasons for that. Bugs are coming out in droves in the area around Rapid Med, so we feel it’s important for you to understand any potential consequences that may arise. Today, we will have a little more fun with it, but you should be prepared for any encounters with problematic insects. Make sure you know how to respond to an allergy attack, early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and other symptoms that you should look out for after a bug bite.
Give You a Black Eye
Here’s a fun fact for you: some bug bites can give you a black eye. Not because the bugs are very strong (though many are incredibly so), but because the toxins they release cause darkness and swelling around the eye. Specifically, you are likely to see black eyes as a result of a brown recluse, one of the more threatening types of spider. Brown recluses have a necrotic venom, meaning it causes damage and breakdown of tissue. If a brown recluse bites your arm, there is a strong possibility that the damage will remain.
When a brown recluse bites you, it rarely causes pain, though there might be a small stinging sensation. After a few hours, the area of the bite will become itchy and painful. The bite will appear as a pale, bluish-white ring, but normally heals itself after 2 or 3 days. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Occasionally, the bite will remain, and the toxin will begin to cause swelling. After this, the toxin will begin to kill the tissue around it, then begin to kill red blood cells.
These are not the only symptoms, either. Within 72 hours of a bite, you may begin to experience weakness, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or a headache. As you’ve surely heard, brown recluse bites can also lead to death. If you begin to see symptoms of a brown recluse bite, it is absolutely imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. Generally, these bites can be treated with a tetanus shot and compression, but they must be cared for with vigor. A brown recluse bite is a life or death situation that you certainly don’t want to be in.
Give You a Panic Attack
Brown recluses aren’t the only scary spiders on the block. Black widows find their name in books, poems, songs, and movies with great frequency, making them one of the most notorious kinds of spiders. Of course, the danger that they present plays a big part in this. Much like the bite of a brown recluse, a black widow bite can certainly kill you — in fact, it can do so in only an hour. Black widows are already nightmare fuel, but they anxiety they can give you now would only be compounded if they bit you.
While brown recluses cause necrosis, black widows cause neurosis. The neurotoxins of black widows can cause signifiacnt damage to the nervous system, which is possibly the most important system in the body. Adult, female black widows are the most toxic. An adult female black widow is jet black (surprisingly) with two red markings in the shape of an hourglass on the underside of her body. It would be hard to tell, though, as black widows are only a few centimeters large at most. Bites occur mostly in the summer, and only when a black widow has been disturbed.
A black widow’s bite feels like a pinprick and will show two small, red spots where the fangs pierced the skin. Some people feel no effects after the bite, while others begin to experience immediate cramps. The cramps will spread from the site of the bite to other limbs. Blood pressure may also rise, and you may salivate. However, the oddest symptom is anxiety. Because the bite puts the body in a similar state to a panic attack, the brain assumes that this is what is going on. As a result, you may suffer a panic attack after a black widow bite.
Fill You With Hair
Continuing with the “notoriously nasty spider” theme, do you know what makes tarantulas so frightening? Besides being absolutely giant, it is the signature hair of the tarantula that is so problematic. The hairs on a tarantulas body and hind legs are incredibly sharp and can pierce human skin. It isn’t actually a bite that you have to worry about from a tarantula — it’s these extremely scary hairs that you need to watch out for. As a bonus fact before we discuss the hair further, it should be noted that tarnatulas are normally as big as 25 cm, which is 5 times the cap for black widows.
Tarantula hairs are filled with a toxin which has been known to cause a variety of effects in humans. The most common and least surprising is a terrible rash on the affected area. The itchy bumps caused by tarantula hairs can last for weeks after the incident in which they were received. Unfortunately, tarantulas can release many of these hairs at once. In fact, the typical release climbs into the thousands. As a result, it’s recommended that anyone who might come in contact with a tarantula wear gloves. Even if they aren’t angered, a tarantula may accidentally eject hair. The hair can also cause an allergic reaction which varies in severity. In many cases, this simply exacerbates the rash and is easily handled with antihistamine creams. However, in other cases, the allergic reaction will be strong enough to cause anaphylactic shock, which is a clear issue.
You can take solace in this, though — tarantulas aren’t likely to bite. When they do, it’s easy to get over. Tarantula bites have no severe side effects and are more annoying than anything else.
Give You The Black Plague
If you ever took a world history class, you certainly learned about the Black Plague. This infectious disease literally sent Europe into the dark ages, wiping out 2 thirds of the population as it did so. Sort of like a super version flu, the Black Plague is of questionable origin. Some attribute it to the simple evolution of bacteria. Others believe it came from Genghis Khan, who launched dead rats over the top of the Great Wall of China. He knew that they were carrying some disease, and did much more damage than intended.
Rats aren’t the only thing that can carry the plague, though. In fact, the rats likely weren’t carrying it at all. Instead, the plague spread mostly through fleas — most commonly found on rats, cats, and dogs. Given that fleas get around so much, it was fairly easy for them to spread a disease across an entire supercontinent, nearly wiping out humanity in the process. The way humans responded to the disease, and the state of medicine at the time, certainly didn’t help. Burning bodies spread the disease in the air, likely exacerbating the problem.
But medicine is a lot better now and we don’t burn bodies in the open, so the plague is gone now… right? Well, not completely. Fleas might still carry the disease and, despite many people not being susceptible, the Black Plague has made sparse appearances throughout the last few decades. Luckily, very few cases of it actually cause anything beyond the symptoms of the common cold. Madagascar was having some issues with plague appearances as recently as March of 2018, but those problems now seem to be over.
Give You Something Life Changing
Bugs can end your life, but that’s not the only way they can mess it up. Lyme disease is increasing in cases year over year, and it absolutely can’t be ignored. Bugs are a small, negligible thing for the most part, but you shouldn’t ignore the edge cases. If you are in a heavily wooded area, please check for ticks and bug bites. And if you begin to see symptoms of something worse than a simple mosquito bite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Enjoy your summer, but don’t let your summer do damage to you.