Home Forums Chat Forum Errr…how bad can insect bite allergies get?

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  • Errr…how bad can insect bite allergies get?
  • elray89
    Free Member

    I’ve always been a bit allergic to midges (annoying as I am a NW Highlander…) and insect bites in general – depending on what part of the body I’d get bitten on I will get some localised swelling and itching for a few days. However, this year either the midges have evolved like a T-Virus monster or my allergic response has decided to go full send.

    I’ve only had two encounters with midges this summer so far – Both times I got bitten on the shin, and I’ve had a reaction I’ve never had before:

    There’s a good 20cm x 10cm area that is very swollen, centred in an area that feels like a hard marble. It is hot to the touch and bruised feeling, can’t tell but it looks discoloured, and most disconcertingly I can press it and it leaves a divot that takes a good 2 minutes to disappear. Feels tingly.

    This feels like a pretty big escalation in symptoms, the first one took about a week to go away and this one is getting worse. Antihistamines don’t seem to be helping much…is there a chance I would need an epipen or have a systemic reaction in future from such a tiny bite? Not heard of such a reaction to midge or cleg bites but it’s kinda concerning.

    Im pretty sure this was just midges as both times I’ve caught the buggers at it. Definitely not a tick and I didn’t feel a cleg bite because they’re kinda sore.

    Full Member

    Repeated exposure to allergens can sometimes lead to worse reactions. I know the local tick species where I am can be managed fine for years, then suddenly can make people extremely ill. 

    Personally if i had a bite site that big and it was getting hot i’d be concerned it was infected. Get it looked at.

    Full Member

    I would get professional advice on that one both for the immediate issue and the longer term implications

    Full Member

    I had an allergic reaction to hornet or wasp sting when on holiday deep in the Washington back country (USA, not NE England!).

    Mrs Vlad is a nurse and insisted we immediately drive 60 miles to the nearest town with a drop-in centre as she was concerned I had sepsis from the bite/sting. Doctor prescribed some steroids for me so caution was warranted! Sepsis can be fatal and your description of symptoms sound like mine so get professional advice asap!

    Full Member

    + 1 for seeking medical advice if you feel it’s appropriate.

    Also, as someone who reacts badly to horseflies in particular, this Beurer heat plate thing has been an absolute god-send for me. It denatures the proteins in the bite and stops your body reacting to them. I carry one in my ride pack now and use it as fast as possible after being bitten. Honestly works like magic:


    Full Member

    Wow,I  need to try one of those heat plates. My horsefly bite reactions this year have been the worst ever.

    At one point I started to think that there was a whole new species that had traveled North.

    Free Member

    I was slightly panicking last night, as it felt so strange and the swelling just didn’t look right and the bruised feeling was unusual…was convinced I was gonna wake up with Cellulitis but thankfully it has gone down overnight.

    I called the doctor anyway and they basically said get some bite cream which I have anyway, and if it gets worse call them back.

    I’m heading up to the NW in a week or so and I am worried I will return looking like John Merrick!

    Full Member

    They can get really bad. I had two mosquito bites swell up by whole hand and foot. At the bite site there was an inch diameter hemisphere of dark red fluid stick out. Red lines starting travelling up my arm, which eventually almost reached my armpit. Went to hospital and they put me straight on lots of antibiotic injections. I stayed in and it took over a week until I went home.

    In the end they found no infection so it was most likely an allergic reaction BUT the doctor said he would still treat with antibiotics if I came in the same again even if he knew I was allergic.

    Infection can lead to Sepsis then Death quite quickly. Allergic reaction either leads to anaphylactic shock or you will very likely be fine. Given treatment for allergic reaction turns down your immune system, the safe option is to treat as infection. If you see red lines coming out the site got to hospital ASAP.

    Free Member

    Go to a pharmacist (or GP). They’ll have a look and decide what to give you (or sometimes say just wait it out). I’ve been given steroids for it multiple times, ABX once where you could see it actually tracking up my veins!

    It definitely feels odd having such a massive lump on your body. They do calm down after a few days (well, always have for me).

    I take piriton (chlorphenamine maleate) immediately after a bite these days (literally went out and bought 10 boxes of it and put it in all my bags) and get Anthisan on it as soon as practical. I’m convinced the Piriton stops them reacting – you know the ones you can feel/see are getting bigger by the second… 30 mins after the tablet’ it instantly settles.

    Full Member

    I take piriton (chlorphenamine maleate) immediately after a bite these days (literally went out and bought 10 boxes of it and put it in all my bags) and get Anthisan on it as soon as practical.

    Been my response in the past. Interested in that ceramic device if BWD recommends them.

    Full Member

    That sounds like a horse fly bite opposed to a midge, a pharmacist will check it out for you.

    Full Member

    Antihistamines should reduce the reaction.

    I use the little beurer thing as recommended above, but it isn’t for everyone.  Family members don’t like the burning feeling

    Full Member

    I’ve had midge bites on my calves that lead to severely swollen feet – similar to you this was an escalation!

    I needed antibiotics & higher dosage of antihistamines. Definitely seek medical advice, mine had started to track as an infection of some sort.

    I now take antihistamines as soon as I am bitten, at recommended dosage until the bites are healing. This seems to have prevented a repeat of the severe swelling, though I occasionally still get minor inflammation.

    Full Member

    Been my response in the past. Interested in that ceramic device if BWD recommends them.

    A friend suggested it to me as the only thing she’d found that helped. I was honestly a little dubious, but it’s worked incredibly well for me. It uses two AAA batteries and a heated ceramic plate – two settings, one is three seconds, the other is six seconds. You press the heated plate against the bite, the plate gets briefly hot. It’s not a comfortable sensation, but it doesn’t cause skin burns. After about ten minutes, I’ve found itching and swelling are dramatically reduced. You can use it repeatedly too.

    The way it works is by denaturing the proteins in the bite that your body is reacting to, so the reaction is reduced. Obviously it’s not going to stop infection caused by dirt, micro-organisms etc, but it does seem to make a huge difference to any allergic-type reaction especially if you use it immediately after being bitten.

    Full Member

    Another insect bite sufferer here. Especially Horse fly bites. Several years ago one particular bite caused the biggest swelling I’d ever experienced. The local GP drew a ring around it and said if it passed the line to go straight to hospital where I’d get put on a drip. Luckily it went down the next day. She may have given me anti biotics too.

    My saviour has been sanitiser, which I apply to the bite asap. This has kept then swelling, burning and ouzing down to a day and not days on end.

    Free Member

    They can get pretty bad,  im one of those that react very badly to insect bites and its got worse over the last few years.

    Draw a line round the redness to see if its getting worse or retracting.

    From the sounds of it its infected and you need to get it seen to,  last few bites ive had have gone this way with the added feeling of having the flu/achey/feverish etc, been prescribed antibiotics on a few occasions over the last couple of years.

    Few years ago i had 3 bites from a bike ride, didnt think much of it until afew days later when i felt like id been hit by a train. Spoke to doctors and they sent me for a nice little stay in hospital for IV antibiotics. Had to have the puss drained from the boil that appeared at the bite site too.
    So yeah they can get pretty bad.

    Free Member

    It’s actually down from where it was, so that’s a blessing as I was starting to worry it was infected badly. Still a tint bit itchy but easy to ignore and very little swelling.

    My allergy must just be kicking up a notch, will need to keep an eye for the rest of the summer or wear trousers. Not that it’s been particularly shorts-friendly weather so far anyway.

    Free Member

    For any one interested in the Beurer hotplate thing, hot water works just as well, run the tap/shower as hot as you can stand then run the bite under it, it will tingle for a couple of seconds then stop. You get a good few hours itch free.

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