Bug bites are, for the most part, annoying but harmless. The response to a sting or bite from insects is variable and depends on a variety of factors. Most bug bites and stings result in pain, swelling, redness, and itching to the affected area. In some cases, they result in blistering. It can be the case for mosquito bites, bed bug bites or spider bites. Learn about the types of bites that may cause blisters, and natural treatments to help heal blisters and soothe itching.
What are the types of bites that may cause blisters?
Not everyone reacts to bug bites in the same manner. Some people may develop blisters after being bitten by bed bugs for example, while others won't.
Here are the different types of bites that may cause blisters:
If you are particularly sensitive to insect bites, you may develop bullae (fluid-filled blisters) or weals (circular, fluid-filled areas surrounding the bite). For instance, many of the mosquito saliva proteins can cause reactions such as blisters. They can also cause more serious immune reactions.
Severe allergic reactions are not common, but they may result in blistering rashes, bruises, or large areas of swelling at the bite sites. People who experience extremely large areas of swelling after a mosquito bite have been dubbed as having "Skeeter Syndrome".
Bed bug bites:
Bed bug bites often look like small, flat or raised areas that may become inflamed, itchy, red or blistered. Bed bug blisters may take a few days to appear after being bitten.
Be aware that bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate once they've established. If you're looking for bed bug treatments, read this page about diatomaceous earth. It's a cheap and non-toxic alternative to pesticides.
Also consider buying a bed bug killer spray to get rid of these bugs and prevent further damage on your skin.
Tick bites are not usually painful and sometimes only cause a red lump to develop where you were bitten. However, in some cases they may cause swelling, itchiness, blistering, and bruising.
Spider bites typically form a blister or pustual on top of the bite within 1-2 days.
Brown recluse spider bites don't cause problems for most people. But in a small percentage of cases, the swelling may form a blister.
If this happens, a dark, scabby material called eschar may cover the blister within a week after the bite. If you suspect this bite, see your doctor. This ulcerated area can continue to enlarge if not treated promptly by a physician.
Mites cause very itchy lumps to appear on the skin and can also cause blisters.
Bees are the most typical stinging insects (this includes wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets). Pain from a bee, hornet or wasp sting is immediate, with rapid swelling, redness, warmth and itching at the site of the sting. Blisters may also occur.
What to do to treat bug bites that blister?
Most bites get usually better on their own, but it can sometimes take a couple of months. So it's always a good idea to see a doctor for proper treatment.
Here is what can be done to accelerate healing:
- Use an adhesive bandage to protect the blistered area and prevent infection.
- Don't scratch the bite because this can make the bite more itchy and swollen and increase the chance of a secondary infection. Blisters do not often cause pain unless they rupture, exposing the new skin underneath.
- It's best not to pop your blisters to speed up the healing process. Read this article to fully understand why it's not a good idea to pop your blisters: Should you Pop a Blister?
- Use cool damp compresses to relieve the itching. The cold temperature from ice can help numb the nerve endings, thus relieving the itching sensation caused by bug bites. It will also help calm the swelling.
Are natural treatments effective to treat bug bites that blister?
Natural treatments are often used and they are usually quite effective to treat bites.
Plantain to treat blisters
Plantain may be used externally to treat blisters and insect bites. A poultice of the leaves may be applied to the affected area.
Calendula for bug bites that blister
Calendula may be applied on blisters. Calendula is a helpful herbal remedy in the treatment of mosquito bites and other insect bites. It helps heal blisters faster.
Apply Calendula ointment on bites several times a day.
Apple cider vinegar to relieve the itch
Apple cider vinegar is a popular remedy for bug bites. It helps relieve the itching and burning caused by bug bites.
Dab apple cider vinegar on a cottontail and apply it on your bites. You may want to dilute apple cider vinegar with water if you have sensitive skin.
Emu oil to reduce the swelling
Emu oil can relieve the itch and reduce the swelling. It also enhances the healing process and reduces scarring.
Some people seem to have very good results with this soothing balm containing emu oil: Emu Bliss
Witch hazel to calm the itch
Witch hazel is a liquid astringent that you can get from a drug store. Mostly used as a facial cleanser, it can also help calm itching caused by bug bites because it contains tannins that have a mild anesthetic effect.
Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and place it on the affected area for 10 minutes.
Aloe vera to heal blisters
Aloe vera gel is soothing for your skin. Its active compounds and amino acids help ease itching and burning caused by bug and insect bites. It also aids healing the skin.
Apply Aloe Vera gel on your bites a few times a day for a couple of days.
Can essential oils help soothe bug bites?
Essential oils, such as lavender essential oil, can help soothe bug bites. A few drops diluted in a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, almond oil or jojoba oil) can be applied directly to the bite.
Eucalyptus, tea tree, thyme, rosemary are also known to alleviate symptoms of bug bites.
Care should be taken when applying essential oils especially if you have sensitive skin. Always perform a skin patch test before use and be aware that essential oils may cause undesired health side effects if not properly used.
Did you know that some essential oil are also great bug repellents? Learn about lemon eucalyptus oil and why it may be more effective than DEET: What's the Best Bug Repellent?
Natural treatments can be quite effective at treating bites that blister. However, if you develop a severe reaction to bites, consult a doctor as soon as possible to avoid serious health complications.
In rare situations, some people experience anaphylaxis after being bitten by a bug. Some people can even experience whole body urticaria and angioedema (hives and swelling), or worsening of asthma symptoms after being bitten.
Some complications such as secondary bacterial infections are also sometimes associated with bug bites.
If you have many bites or a bite looks infected, you should see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat an infection and help relieve the itch.
Listen to the video below with Dr. Ava Shamban who is talking about bug bites and what you should do if they get itchy!