Insect Bite Rash

Be careful of tick bites!

An insect bite rash can be bothersome and often painful. Knowing what to do if you develop a rash from an insect bite will not only ease your symptoms, but your peace of mind as well.

Types of Insect Bite Rash

A rash is an area of inflamed or irritated skin. Rashes can come from various causes, including insect bites. Often times an insect bite rash can mimic other conditions and can be confused with things such as scabies, fungal infections or even allergies.

Different insect bites cause rashes. The following are some common rashes caused from an insect bite:

  • Bed bug bite rash begins with itching about an hour after the person has been bitten. For some people it may not appear for days or a week depending on the body's reaction to the bed bug saliva. The rash starts with single, small, red, inflamed, round bumps. Bed bug rash, when it first becomes visible, may just be a single, swollen bump before it spreads. The rash spreading means that the person is still being bitten by bed bugs. A bed bug rash may also look like inline bite marks. The rash may stay swollen for weeks until it clears.
Bed bug bites on back
Bed bug bites
  • Mosquito bite rash is a more severe reaction to a bite and occurs less often. The rash may look like blisters or bruises and have a large area of swelling at the site of the mosquito bites.
Mosquito bite swelling
Mosquito bite swelling
  • Chigger bite rash is found around the waist, ankles or in warm skin folds. It begins to itch several hours after the chiggers attach. The rash may only be present on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun and may also stop where the underwear meets the legs.
Chigger bites
Chigger bites
  • Flea bite rash is caused by an allergic reaction to the flea's saliva. The rash looks inflamed and has clusters of bites in it. It can be itchy for several weeks.
Flea bites
Flea bites
  • Tick bite rash is a flat, round patch that may increase in size over a few days. The rash looks like a bull's-eye. It can develop one to four weeks after a tick bite. One cause of a rash from a tick bite is Lyme disease. If you suspect that you were bitten by a tick and develop a rash, seek medical attention to rule out Lyme disease, an infection that can lead to serious illness.
Tick bite showing lyme disease rash
Tick bite showing lyme disease rash

Rash Treatment

A rash can be itchy and sometimes painful. It most likely will clear up on its own in a few days. It can also be red and swollen. To relieve symptoms, try the following:

  • Hold ice or cool compresses on the rash area.
  • A topical anti-itch ointment, such as Calamine lotion, can ease itching.
  • Try not to scratch the rash, it will only irritate it more and cause more itching or pain.
  • Home remedies such as a baking soda paste or a solution of meat tenderizer and water can help ease pain and itching.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Usually an insect bite rash is localized. If the rash develops to a general body rash, it is best to see a physician to evaluate the rash. Signs that the rash is infected are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Aches
  • Shortness of Breath

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention.


Insect Bite Rash