What Are the Common Causes of Pus in a Bite?

Topical antibiotics may be used to treat infected bites.
Bites from venomous snakes require anti-venom medicines administered only by medical professionals.
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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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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.

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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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penny1969
Post 5

@ZipLine: I have recently, during this spring and summer season, started getting bitten periodically by something, I don't know what. The first one was on my index finger, which got all swollen and a greenish-yellow pus filled blister formed, which I drained and it started feeling better. It also hurt like hell the night before I drained the thing.

The next bite was on my temple just behind the hairline, same deal. I had greenish-yellow pus, a pretty large, hard lump-like blister, which I had to drain several times but it finally healed in about a week. By that time I was already taking antibiotics for a tooth infection, so that helped.

The next bite was also right inside my hairline on the other side of my face, which took two weeks to heal after I drained it because I'd run out of antibiotics.

This current one is on my chin and the pain and the large knot forming is making eating painful. This time, it’s the same deal, but the pus is more greenish-yellow.

I wonder what is biting me this year because I've never before seen anything that color come out of me when I’ve been bitten by, you know, ordinary fleas or ordinary bugs. At first I thought it was the geography because I got the first one was in New Mexico, the second in upstate New York and now I'm in Western Massachusetts. Do these three places have some new breed of bug, bedbug maybe, or have I developed a severe allergy to whatever it was in all three states?

Another thing these things have in common is that I've been in cheap rentals with dodgy mattresses and furniture all three times. Back when I was younger and on mild antibiotics (tetracycline) for my acne regularly, these things didn't happen. Anyway, I fogged the room with insect foggers I'd brought back with me from New Mexico but I wonder what kind of insect I'm dealing with, so as to know what to kill it with, If I have to use at least 40 percent DEET as cologne while I sleep or sit still, I will!

SarahGen
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.

fBoyle
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.

ZipLine
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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