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Also called: Bug bites

Most insect bites are harmless, though they sometimes cause discomfort. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings and fire ant bites usually hurt. Mosquito and flea bites usually itch. Insects can also spread diseases. In the United States, some mosquitoes spread West Nile virus. Travelers outside the United States may be at risk for malaria and other infections.

To prevent insect bites and their complications

  • Don’t bother insects
  • Use insect repellant
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects
  • If you know you have severe allergic reactions to insect bites and stings (such as anaphylaxis), carry an emergency epinephrine kit

If you spend time outdoors or have pets that go outdoors, you need to beware of ticks. Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. Many species transmit diseases to animals and people. Some of the diseases you can get from a tick bite are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Some ticks are so small that they can be difficult to see. Ticks may get on you if you walk through areas where they live, such as tall grass, leaf litter or shrubs.

Tick-borne diseases occur worldwide, including in your own backyard. To help protect yourself and your family, you should

  • Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin
  • Wear light-colored protective clothing
  • Tuck pant legs into socks
  • Avoid tick-infested areas
  • Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks you find

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