Q:

How can you treat no-see-um bites?

A:

Quick Answer

If you are bitten by no-see-ums, wash the area with soap and water, and then apply ice to help with itching and swelling, suggests the West Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. Contact your doctor to ask about treatment for itching.

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Full Answer

No-see-ums, also called biting midges and sand gnats, are tiny biting insects that feed on human and animal blood, according to Bug Squad. Their bites generally do not transmit diseases to humans, but they cause intense itching and may turn into large welts or red spots that take a couple of weeks to disappear. Do not scratch no-see-um bites, because it prevents healing and can lead to infection.

Antihistamines can help prevent allergic reactions and may help relieve the itching, notes Undercurrent. However, the necessary dose may vary depending on your level of sensitivity. In some tropical climates, no-see-ums may also carry leishmaniasis, a dangerous parasitic disease. This illness is sometimes misdiagnosed in the United States because it is not common.

The best way to handle no-see-um bites is to prevent them, according to the West Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. Wear light-colored protective clothing, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Install screens on your windows to keep them out of your house. Strong fans are also a deterrent because the insects are not proficient in flying.

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