Gnats, no-see-ums, flies, punky – you refer to them by different names in different parts of the world. Majorly, gnats have always been the disturbing type of insects; causing distractions while working or resting. But did you know that gnats bite?
Female sand flies are a part of the gnat types that are known to bite and feed on mammal blood.
And here’s what you need to know about sand fly bites.
Sand fly bites: the guilty pleasure
These aren’t love bites – rather an act of survival. You see, sand flies and other biting gnats need protein for proper reproduction. They source this protein from the blood of mammals. Only females follow this style of diet, feeding on blood to lay more eggs. Besides, they aren’t subtle about it.
Unlike mosquito bites, gnat bites are comparatively painful with a greater risk of getting an infection. Mosquitoes rely on the proboscis, a straw-like part that they inject into the skin. Gnats like to tear open the skin to feed on blood. Further, they inject an anticoagulant to prevent blood clotting and have more time to feed.
When a sand fly bites
You are more likely to be bitten by a sand fly in sandy and moist areas, places like beaches and marshes. Sandflies prefer moisture in habitats which suits their breeding and living needs. This biting-to-feed action has some bad consequences for you and other animals alike. Your body reacts to the cut and starts the recovery process.
A sand fly bite is followed by:
- Redness, and
- Swelling of the bitten area
- Appearance of blood spots on the bitten spot
Further, you will experience:
In the affected area.
For more information, check our ‘How gnat bites look like’ article.
How sand fly bite affects you
Once bitten, you are likely to experience pain and itching in the bitten area. However, do not scratch the spot. Doing so increases the chance of getting a skin infection. People with sensitive skin are more vulnerable to complexions caused by the bite.
Besides, it is not just about pain and itching sensation. These bites can also be a cause of diseases.
Gnats are known to be vectors for disease-causing microorganisms. We are talking about diseases like leishmaniasis and pappataci fever.
Hence, you should prioritize bite prevention. In case you are bitten, seek treatment as soon as possible.
Sand fly bites: prevention and treatment
Prevention should always be a top priority. This not only helps you avoid complications but also saves on expensive treatments.
So, how to prevent sand fly bites?
To prevent sand fly bites, you need to prevent sand flies. And to prevent sand flies, you need to understand their needs and behavior.
Preventing sand fly bites
As discussed earlier, gnats, which includes sand flies, love humidity. Therefore, getting rid of water content is the way to go.
- Clear out the puddles, drainage or any such places that hold water.
- Use gnat repellents to ward off gnats from your surroundings. If going out, use insect repellent lotions to prevent bites.
- Keep your body parts like hands, legs, and ankles covered.
These are some of the simple ways to prevent sand flies and thus, prevent sand fly bites.
But, how do you treat sand fly bites?
Treating sand fly bites
Gnat bites are painful, itchy and pose a large risk of transmitting disease. Thus, it is necessary to tend these insect bites as quickly as possible to prevent any health issues.
If bitten, you should:
- First, clean the area with some soap and water.
- Then, apply some antiseptic to prevent infection.
- Further, you should apply a cold compress to tend to the swelling and irritation. Use a towel soaked in cold water or a plastic bag filled with ice cubes. Do this for at least 10 minutes per day.
- Apply an anti-itch cream to soothe minor skin irritations.
That said, you should visit a doctor:
- If the swelling and redness does not reduce with time
- If you get a fever
- In case of allergic reactions like breathing trouble, nausea, rapid heartbeat or swollen lips, eyelids.
Take the necessary actions and treat gnat bites appropriately to avoid future health complications.
the type of gnats that bite. It is the females who feed on blood to lay more eggs. That said, sand fly bites can cause serious health issues like leishmaniasis and pappataci fever.
Hence, it is essential that you prevent and treat gnat bites with utmost care.
In this short article, we have highlighted some prevention measures and treatment of sand fly bites which you need to follow to be protected.
If you have any questions concerning sand flies, do leave them below for us to answer.