The bite of a kissing bug, also called cone-nosed bugs, is usually not painful, says WebMD. A person may experience itching from the bites, however, and in some cases, swelling or hives accompany a patch of bites.
Kissing bugs, so called because they tend to bite near the mouth of animals or people, feed on the blood of a sleeping mammal host, says WebMD. They live in South and Central America, and in the southern regions of the United States. They typically hide during the day and appear at night to feed, although they can go for days or weeks without eating. Most people remain unaware that they have been bitten or attribute the bites to another cause, although a patch of small bites around the mouth is a sign of exposure to the kissing bug, the common name for triatomines, says the University of Arizona Department of Neuroscience.
Kissing bug bites may cause a severe allergic reaction in some people, says the University of Arizona Department of Neuroscience. Allergic reactions may include skin symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory symptoms and anaphalaxis. Allergic sensitization occurs as a result of repeated exposure to kissing bug bites. Another concern associated with kissing bug bites is Chagas disease, although this parasite-borne condition is uncommon in the United States, says WebMD.