When people think of bugs and insects that bite, they usually think of spiders, ants, mosquitoes, wasps and bees, not centipedes. But centipedes sometimes do bite, and it is good to know what the symptoms are and how to treat the bite.
Many people are terrified by centipedes even though they rarely bite. These bugs have a pair of pincers or legs that look like claws, and they are located at the top of their body, just behind their head. These pincers can pierce the skin, and the centipede then draws venom from pouches, inserting them into the skin. This venom is not deadly, or to be more precise, it is not deadly unless no fewer than 1.000 centipedes attach at the same time. To the date, not a single case of death from centipede bite has been reported in the United States.
Centipede bite symptoms
When a centipede bites a person, it leaves a mark that resembles a snake bite, with a pair of tiny puncture marks on the skin. The area around the puncture marks will soon develop a series of painful blisters.
Centipede bite symptoms can be divided into two groups-localized and systemic.
Localized symptoms include pain, redness and inflammation, tingling, itching or burning and inflamed or painful lymph nodes. There is also a non-amplifying and localized death of living cells, which takes a few weeks to heal, while the other symptoms usually go away two or three days after the bite has occurred.
Systemic symptoms may include anxiety, euphoria, headache, fever, high blood pressure, nausea, heart palpitations and general weakness.
This is as bad as the symptoms are going to get for most healthy adults. However, people who are more sensitive to insect bites and tend to have more severe allergic reactions may be at risk of anaphylactic shock after a centipede bite.
Treatment for centipede bite
Here are some of the steps to follow after a centipede bite. The first thing to do is to wash the affected area thoroughly, using soap and running water. If the area is already inflamed, it helps to wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth to ease the pain and prevent swelling.
The pain can be relieved by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, and as for the itching; it can be eased by dabbing an antihistaminic ointment like Benadryl directly to the affected skin. Calamine lotion works good too.
However innocuous these insects may seem, in case of a centipede bite it is best to see a doctor, because there is always a possibility of a secondary infection or wound necrosis.
As for the home remedies that work well on centipede bites, the options include crushed onions, green papaya, meat tenderizer, and believe it or not, urine, preferably the one’s own.