ZocdocAnswersWhat kind of bug bite is this?

Question

What kind of bug bite is this?

I have a bug bite that I got while camping a few days ago. For the first day, it was small and red and had a white head. Now it's getting bigger and the whitehead is growing too. It's on my neck so this is pretty embarasing. What kind of bite is this? How should I treat it?

Answer

While it is difficult to say what kind of bug it was, the important part of your question is that the redness and whitehead are growing. In general, after a few days of swelling, small bites or other skin changes, should start to improve. In this era of antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA, small insults to the skin can become infected with bacteria that are difficult for your body to eliminate, and are even more concerning because common antibiotics have some difficulty clearing these infections as well. Specific signs that you should look for that require seeing a doctor immediately would be if you start to have a fever, chills, or a fast heart rate, as all of these can be signs of a blood stream infection. It would also be important to see a doctor quickly if you start to have difficulty swallowing, breathing, turning your head, or with any other movement that could be caused by this infection. Another concerning sign would be if you start to feel that the skin around the bite is becoming fluctuant, or as if there is a fluid collection under the skin. If so, it would need to be lanced by a physician in order to heal completely. From what you're saying, you should see a physician at this point. Moist, warm compresses can sometimes help to soften up the skin and cause the whitehead to pop which can sometimes be the start of relief. In the meantime, see a physician to see what the next step is, which might include lancing and culturing any fluid to see if the bacteria growing in the wound is concerning.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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