Anaphylaxis is the allergic reaction to animal venom such as from fire ants, wasps and bees. Arachnids like spiders, scorpions or other bugs like centipedes can also cause anaphylaxis. Swelling, redness and itching are local reactions to an insect bite or sting. Anaphylaxis symptoms on are large scale swelling, dizziness and difficulty breathing; and are life threatening requiring immediate medical intervention. About 10 percent of us are susceptible to anaphylaxis. If you know that you are sensitive to venom from prior experience or suffer any of the symptoms seek medical attention sooner rather than later.
Ant Bites & Stings
Ant bites and stings can be painful, burning or itchy. They require minimal treatment and are of no consequence to most of us. Ant bites transfer an irritant in the form of formic acid, a carboxylic acid. Formic acid is what causes the reaction to the bite resulting in the itch, burning and swelling. But fire ants are the exception. Fire ants attack and can kill small animals. Fire ants are very aggressive and will swarm in numbers if disturbed. Their toxic alkaloid venom causes a burning sensation similar to burn like from a fire, hence their name.
Bee & Wasp Stings
Bee stings can be painful, but a bee will only sting as a last resort, as it will die shortly after delivering their barbed stings. But wasps can sting repeatedly. The feared yellow-jacket is aggressive but unless stings are delivered in mass or you are allergic they are not a health hazard, they just hurt. Wasp venom is a highly specialized form of chemical warfare used for defense. Some substances in the venom break down the cellular membranes spilling the cells contents into your blood stream. The nasty chemicals are referred to as peptides and some are enzymes. When the cells in question are neurons, these send a message to our brains that is interpreted as pain. Other substances stop the flow of blood. The pain duration is a result of this nor-epinephrine injection remains until blood flow can dilute and carry this stuff away from the sting site. But there is more, the swelling is cause by the presence of two substances known as hyaluronidase and MCDP short for the scary sounding mast cell degranulating peptide. This stuff melts it way through the connective tissue between cells.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite Stages
Arachnids, the spider and scorpions carry chemical horrors in their venoms as well. Two spiders belonging to the recluse family and the widow spiders are the primary threat. The brown recluse injects Hemotoxic venom and may cause severe lesions in the bite area. But in some case the venom causes the red blood cells to burst. Most fatalities from the recluse bite are in young children under the age of seven due to organ failure. As the body fights to contain the venom to the bite sight it cuts of blood flow to the surrounding tissues, in effect committing tissue suicide to contain the problem. This results in lesions that can be up to 10 inches in diameter. They become gangrenous and require skin grafts to treat.
What Does a Black Widow Spider Bite Look Like?
Black widows these tiny creatures carry large venom glands in proportion to their size. Only the females are dangerous to us folks. Their venom contains a substance called latrotoxin that may result in systemic effects including severe muscle pain, muscle spasms, swelling and increased heart rate. In many bites there is no venom injected as black widow are not particularly aggressive toward humans. Venom formation requires calories, and is a precious resource that most creatures seek to conserve. Even rattlesnakes don’t always inject venom in a bite.
Scorpion Sting Symptoms
Scorpions are another arachnid cousin of the spider. The most common species is the striped bark scorpion. Their venom is not usually of concern to the non-allergic among us. This stuff contains neurotoxins. This toxin can cause paresthesia or a tingling ‘pins and needles’ feeling from pressurized and damages peripheral nerves. Pain and localized muscle spasms are experienced. As the proteins in scorpion toxins serve as allergens to humans, an allergic reaction causing abdominal spasms, tightness in the chest, flushing and lightheadedness, but in severe cases anaphylactic shock.