Merck Manual

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Other Arthropod Bites


Robert A. Barish

, MD, MBA, University of Illinois at Chicago;

Thomas Arnold

, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport

Last review/revision Jan 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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The more common biting non-tick arthropods in the US include

All of these arthropods, except wheel bugs and water bugs, also suck blood, but none is venomous.

Disease transmission is the main concern related to mosquito bites. Mosquitoes may transmit

Arthropod saliva composition varies considerably, and the lesions caused by bites vary from small papules to large ulcers with swelling and acute pain. Dermatitis may also occur. Most serious consequences result from secondary infection or hypersensitivity reactions, which can be fatal in sensitized people. Flea allergens may trigger respiratory allergy even without a bite in some people.

The location and pattern of wheals and lesions are sometimes diagnostic of the bite source. For example, blackfly bites are usually on the neck, ears, and face; flea bites may be numerous, mostly on the feet and legs; and bedbug bites often occur in linear patterns, most commonly on the torso.

Treatment of Other Arthropod Bites

  • Routine wound care

  • For itching, a topical antihistamine or corticosteroid

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NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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