Symptoms From Centipede Bite
Centipedes are predators of insects. They live in damp or humid environments. Outdoors centipedes are common in flowerbeds that have plenty of mulch or dead leaves. Centipedes also hide under woodpiles, landscape timbers, and logs.
When they move indoors, centipedes seem to like dark locations. People find them in closets, cabinets, bathrooms, and basements. Centipedes do not search for people to bite. However, they will bite to defend themselves when they are threatened.
Centipedes will bite a human hand if it is moving the item they have chosen as a hiding place. People sometimes get bitten when they put on a garment or a pair of shoes that they have not worn in a long time. Items that have been stored under the bed can also be centipede-hiding places. People who reach under the bed without looking sometimes get a bite.
Centipedes have claws – one on each side – just behind the head. The claws are connected to a venom gland. The centipedes use the venom to paralyze their prey. The effect that this venom has on humans depends on the type of centipede and the individual person's sensitivity to venom.
The common house centipede is found in almost every part of the United States. It has very long legs and grows to about 10.5″ in length. Scientists think that this centipede's bite is too weak to break most people's skin. However, there are a few people each year who experience serious reactions.
In the western states, the giant centipedes can reach 8″ in length. These centipedes can deliver a painful bite. The most common reaction is sharp pain. The pain sometimes radiates out from the bite site. There is often redness and swelling. These symptoms usually begin to disappear in a few hours.
Some people experience swelling and tenderness that persist – sometimes for several weeks. These people sometimes also have sores at the bite site.
A very few people might be very sensitive to the centipede venom. They may experience allergic reactions. These people might have a headache, nausea, dizziness, and even changes in their blood pressure.
Experts recommend that bite victims should wash the skin to reduce the chance of infection. Ice or cold compresses can reduce pain and minimize swelling. Ice should be alternated – 10 minutes on and then 10 minutes off. Bite victims should be observed closely. If symptoms get worse, if signs of allergic reaction appear, or if there are any doubts, seek medical attention.