Sand Fly Bites: The Surprising Truth behind the Pesky No-See-Ums

Sand flies have been observed to be carriers of various types of diseases which sometimes prove to be fatal. They are known to spread typhus and plague around humid regions at an alarming rate. However, due to over time evolution and scientific revolution in the field of pesticides and insecticides, they have been converted into nothing more than the common insect which feeds on humans and animals alike.

After the bite of a sand fly, it is standard practice to have the bite checked for any possible infections or harboring infestations. These measures also help to reduce the number of receivable bites on homely animals. In most cases, however, it is advised to know how long a bite from a sand fly will last, especially on humans to prevent any future damage.

1. On Humans

Sand fly bites on human

The bite of the pesky bugs when observed on the human skin has the tell-tale mark of a small swollen and blotchy patch in vivid red. Though most bite is small and leaves no reaction with the common man, certain individuals that suffer from allergic reactions tend to develop severe itching around the left over the mark. These people are also seen to develop swollen welts around a given region of the bites in clusters that are purple and red in color. Though the typical bite takes approximately a day or two to heal and another few to completely disappear, the allergic reaction bites take up to several weeks to completely heal.

The bite of a sand fly has a different healing period dependent upon the possible factors that caused the infestation at first. The first and foremost factor that determines the intensity of the bite is the sensitivity of the skin of the individual that is the recipient. Most of the skin conditions after the bite are common to many other forms of allergens and their reactions, but throughout the similarity, the sand fly bite is known to last for longer periods of time and develop differently throughout the period of their entirety.

It is standard practice to use natural remedies in the case of singular bites or small clusters. Preference is given to medication in the instance of excessive bites along with a visit to the doctor. Natural remedies are known to work faster on humans by helping to reduce swelling states and thus lessen the itch against the skin. Usage of aloe vera extracts in the purest of forms also helps to reduce excessive rash spreads and skin issues that may arise upon leaving the bites to fester. These methods have been considered relevant and easy to understand while also being quite responsive. It is always advisable to take care of the bite beforehand or on the spot to prevent any possible infectious states to the skin.

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2. On Cats and Dogs

In the case of pets at home, a single bite can cause more damage. Due to the recipient being an animal, the bites are known to result in worse conditions. As the animals are more sensitive to flies and fleas alike, they are known to scratch upon the bite mark itself. As the sand fly is known to cause dermatitis as a reaction to the bites allergen within the saliva, upon intensive scratching the animal may result in breaking open its skin which in turn results in broken blisters and torn hair. If you are typical household pet is suspected of having a bite infection, it is advisable to take them to a vet who will prescribe them with antibiotics or steroid based gels. These would help to soothe the itchy skin along with closing up the broken wounds faster than allowing nature to take its course.

3. Symptoms

Sandfly gnat on human skin

Identifying the bite of a sand fly is best to do by observing any symptom that may arise in the aftermath of the bite. By doing so, you can take preventive measures against any possible infections they may be carrying and also prevent any further bite possibilities by taking precautionary measures to repel the bugs.

The most common symptom of the sand fly is a sudden pinching sensation after which you will feel the need to scratch the area itself. As sandflies reside in sandy areas or wet spots such as mangroves, if you feel a pinching sensation, spots of blood may appear upon the bitten spot. The female sand fly causes this during a biting episode which invites others to come and feed as well. The clusters of bites cause the itch which is a common symptom, but it is always advised to leave the area or to cover up all exposed skin.

Another symptom caused is mild dermatitis which leads to skin irritation and ultimately to dry patches of skin that may flake. Itching and blotching swollen skin is a primary reaction which may result in further infection in the form of dermatitis. The skin is left irritated causing mild disturbances.

In certain conditions, the bite may turn into a welt due to the female laying eggs on the bite site itself. The infection may then cause the formation of pustules which you can heal with the usage of antibiotics. The easiest way to check up for any possible damage is by checking the skin for redness. Multiple bites because of concentrated blotchiness around the bites itself.

4. Sand Fly Bites Healing Time

Sand fly bites can take differing amounts of time to heal depending on how you treat them. By immediately disinfecting the bite mark, you can soothe the site before a reaction is allowed to commence, thus hindering it from the later stages. The saliva of the female sand fly contains allergens, though the bite is virtually harmless, it is the substance that enters the bloodstream that causes the human body to suffer from an allergic reaction.

The time taken for a bite to heal depends on the recipient of the wound itself. Sensitivity to allergic reactions and several bites upon a particular spot of the skin can lead to welt formations and infections (dermatitis) which can take up to several weeks to completely heal.

Resisting the urge to scratch the bite site along with the application of cold compresses helps to soothe the irritated skin due to the contraction of the skin itself. Saving the spot from the surfaces from developing into a hot spot leads to further swelling and increased itching. Usage of certain oils also helps counteract the saliva from the bite of the female fly.

5. Sand Fly Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

The first step when dealing with insect bites is to identify the particular type of insect that is causing them. Insect bites can present in the form of tiny red dots, which show up all over the body, in particular on the limbs. It is important to understand the difference between the bite of a sand fly and that of a bed bug to adequately rid yourself of them. One must also keep in mind that people react to these bites. Differently, some might develop allergic reactions, or the insect bites might become infected, while others may not notice the bite at all.

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6. Sand Fly Bites Treatment

Once you identify the pest, steps must be taken to rid oneself of the parasites and also to ensure no further infestations occur in the future.

Sandfly bites on human neck

Sand fly bites can be severely unpleasant to deal with, with effects extending up to some weeks before dissipating on their own. It is recommended to seek assistance from a physician in case of prolonged symptoms since that can mean the insect has transmitted a virus to the host.

The sand fly’s period of activity peaks around night time, in the evenings or at dawn. They usually bite easy to reach areas such as the legs and ankles, because it can only reach heights ranging from 20 to 40 centimeters while jumping, so it cannot access parts of the body that are too far from the ground.

If a sand fly bites one, one needs to observe the following measures:

  1. Avoid scratching or otherwise irritating the bite. Doing so may lead to infections which can further aggravate the wound.
  2. Ensure that the insect has not burrowed under the skin to breed, where it can survive on your blood for extended periods of time.
  3. Use over-the-counter drugs to reduce pain and to abate the itching. Seek a physician if the symptoms persist.
  4. As a home remedy, a mixture of baking soda and water may be applied to the area in question to accelerate the healing process.
  5. To reduce itching, soak the infected area in an oatmeal bath with slightly warm water.
  6. Use aloe plants to alleviate any discomfort and to produce a soothing effect on the skin.

You can apply the following natural materials to the area of the bite such as:

  1. Soap
  2. Garlic
  3. Vinegar
  4. Toothpaste
  5. Tea tree oil
  6. Onion (rubbed onto the wound, preceding a shower)
  7. Salty water (once applied, let it dry in air)
  8. Turmeric root

Sand Fly Bites Prevention

As in the case of all ailments, medical or otherwise, prevention is better than cure. One must possess the necessary information that will enable them to avoid all infestations of these blood-sucking insects successfully. The following tips can help you lead a life free of sand fly bites:

  1. Avoid humid coastal area, for example, the beach after a spell of rain. Cool and moist temperatures spike up the sand fly’s activity. The fact is also true for specific times of the day such as mornings or evenings. As a precaution, schedule your beach-going activities for days where the weather is warm, and the humidity is low.
  2. To avoid bites, while visiting coastal areas in cooler temperatures, use sufficient amounts of insect repellent or bug spray to dispel the pests.
  3. Since the areas closer to the ground are more vulnerable to the sand flies, ensure that the exposed areas of the body are concealed and properly covered against the insect. When lying down, take special care to cover your back, neck, and limbs.
  4. Take measures to ensure adequate hygiene at your place of residence so that any pest inadvertently carried in by a pet can be disposed of without incident.

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