What Are the Common Causes of Pus in a Bite?

Topical antibiotics may be used to treat infected bites.
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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2014
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Pus in a bite is caused by a bacterial infection. Almost any bite, such as a human bite, spider bite, or other insect bite, can cause an infection and subsequent pus. In addition, wounds of this nature can cause pain, redness, swelling, and an increase in skin temperature over the affected area. Other symptoms of a bite can include muscles cramps, nausea, dizziness, and rash.

Sometimes, severe symptoms can occur as the result of bites, including fever, elevated blood pressure, and extreme anxiety. Getting bit by a poisonous insect or snake causes venom to become introduced to the blood stream, and is a medical emergency. Although pus in a bite may occur, it is generally a later symptom. The bite of a black widow spider can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and even cardiac abnormalities. Tissue death can also occur, which is commonly referred to as gangrene.

Human and animal bites can also lead to infection, including rabies. In addition, cat bites have a higher rate of infection than other animal bites because their teeth are very sharp and can reach into the deep layers of the tissue. A serious infection known as cellulitis can also occur as the result of a bite. Symptoms of cellulitis include red streaks near the bite site, inflammation, pain, and pus in the bite.


Treatments for bites include cleaning the wounds with soap and warm water to remove as much bacteria as possible. In addition, taking over-the-counter medication to relieve pain and swelling also helps minimize symptoms. If the bite is bleeding, applying pressure until the bleeding stops is also important, as is the application of an antibiotic ointment. If pus begins to form, the health care provider can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics.

When pus in a bite occurs, it can be mixed with a small amount of blood, giving the pus a pink tinge. In addition, the color of pus can be white, yellow, or green. In some cases, pus can be very dark, have a foul odor and have a very thick consistency. The wound should never be lanced by the bite victim himself, because this can cause a worsening of symptoms, and might even lead to a serious blood infection.


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Post 3

Cat bites and scratches can both be dangerous. I had to take oral antibiotics last year because the sister's cat attacked me thinking it's play. I got a fever afterward and my doctor gave me antibiotics.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- I'm not a doctor but I think that infection is a possibility with all insect bites. Some people respond more severely and the insect may carry a bacteria that you're particularly sensitive to. There are also different kinds of mosquitoes out there. When I went to the tropics, the mosquitoes there would give me large, red welts.

Also, you might have scratched the bites in your sleep without realizing as well. That will definitely increase the chances of infection.

I recommend keeping some rubbing alcohol with you and if you wake up at night from a mosquito bite, take a second and apply some rubbing alcohol on there. It will kill bacteria and it will make the bite less itchy.

Post 1

Early last week, I woke up with three swollen, red spots on my cheek. I have no idea what bit me. I suspected a mosquito because I haven't seen any spiders in the house. But I had never experienced this kind of reaction to mosquito bites before.

At first, the bites were just red spots, but after a few days, they started looking like a rash and visibly filled with pus. I drained the pus as I do with pimples, washed with soap and water and used an antibiotic cream. I had to drain the pus twice but it finally started healing after that. The antibiotic cream helped it heal.

Right now, the infection is gone but I do have blemishes on my cheeks now. It's frustrating. Has anyone experienced something like this? Did you figure out what you were bit by?

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