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Insect bites and stings are common and while some cause only minor irritation others can be painful and trigger a serious allergic reaction.

Being a tropical country, mosquitoes are quite common in Nigeria. Nigeria also has lots of rain and in most parts of the country the drainage systems are not the best. This creates a suitable breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is therefore not unusual for both children and adults to have mosquito bites on their skin.

Insect bites from spiders, scorpions, bees and wasps etc. are far less common in Nigeria.

Cause

Insect bites result after the insect uses their mouth parts to puncture the skin and/or feed on blood.

Symptoms

Most mosquito bites are harmless, but occasionally a mosquito bite causes a large area of swelling, soreness and redness. Bites from mosquitoes can cause Malaria.

Some people have an adverse reaction to mosquito bites, this condition is called Skeeter Syndrome. This is a type of allergic reaction to mosquito bites which causes the area around the bite to swell and become inflamed.

Signs and symptoms of other insect bites result from the injection of venom or other substances into the skin. The venom causes pain and can sometimes triggers an allergic reaction with the severity of the reaction, depending on sensitivity to the insect venom or whether you’ve been stung or bitten more than once.

Most reactions to insect bites are mild, with itching or stinging sensation and a mild swelling that may disappear within a couple of days. Bites from bees, wasps and fire ants are typically the most painful and scorpion and ant bites can be very severe.

Prevention

You can take a number of steps to limit you and your family’s exposure to insect bites;

  • To prevent mosquito bites it is advisable to sleep under mosquito nets
  • Use insect repellent
  • When you’re in an area with lots of mosquitoes, wear protective clothing like long sleeved shirts, long trousers, socks etc.
  • Keep your house and compound free of standing water that mosquitos need to breed
  • Mosquitos usually bite between dusk and dawn. Limit the amount of time you and your children spend outdoors during these hours.

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