Taking the sting out of insect bites
Okay, we admit it.
We sometimes get a little obsessive about mosquitoes and other biting bugs.
If making a meal of you isnt bad enough, when you travel to tropical countries mozzies can transmit pathogens that cause sometimes deadly diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, yellow fever, filariasis, and many others.
Its our job to make sure every traveller who visits a Travelvax Australia clinic for vaccinations and expert advice understands what insect-borne diseases might be present at their destination and how to minimise the risk of infection. Hence, our obsession
Now, its true that not every mozzie you encounter overseas will be carrying one of these mosquito-borne nasties. (First, they have to bite an infected person or animal before they move on to you.)
But, they breed em big in the tropics and in battalion strength. So, even if youre not infected, getting bitten by insects youve never encountered before can result in your body having a reaction, which can range from mild to severe.
Dr Cameron Webb, a medical entomologist based at the Universityof Sydney and Westmead Hospital, is an expert on insects and we asked his advice on treating their bites.
Biting bugs differ from stinging bugs
Biting insects like mosquitoes, bed bugs, ticks, and fleas are different to stinging insects like ants, bees and wasps, Dr Webb explained.
Biting insects mainly cause allergic reactions due to the saliva they inject when feeding, while stinging insects inject venom when they bite. Insect venom causes pain and swelling at the site of the sting and may cause anaphylaxis.
Reactions can be quite severe, ranging from itching to nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, or breathing difficulties. In very rare cases, even death.
The reddish, inflamed and swollen reactions to bites result from an injection of insect saliva, a chemical cocktail of substances designed to make blood flow quickly and painlessly to the bug as it get its fill quickly.
AUSTRALIA: Syphilis spike in Queensland, NT
CAMBODIA: Dengue rate up 4-fold
CHINA: Lethal flu in Hong Kong; Rabies death brings swift response
ECUADOR: Dengue toll mounts
INDIA: Rains bring disease to Delhi
ISRAEL: Measles hits migrant families in Tel Aviv
MADAGASCAR: Severe malaria claims 7
NEPAL: Pokhara braces for disease; Disease hits west; Malaria targeted
PAKISTAN: Measles rampant in war-torn province
PARAGUAY: Dengue deaths soar
PERU: Rabies death due to bat bite; Floods bring leptospirosis
UNITED KINGDOM: Measles outbreak in West Cork
USA: Lethal whooping cough at record levels; Norovirus halts cruise; Buddhists hit by food poisoning
Travelvax Australia compiles this weekly bulletin of global travel health alerts, risk assessments and advice for the information
of Austrlaian travellers and the travel industry. Please contact our travel health advisory service on 1300 360 164 for broad
destination-specific advice and vaccination recommendations. Recommended vaccines, travel medicine, trip-specific
advice and accessories are available during a medical consultation with a travel health professional at any of
Travelvax Australians 32 clinics. Visit our website or call 1300 360 164 for details.
Source = Travelvax