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This Is Why Some Insect Bites Swell Up

It's not due to an allergic reaction.
PHOTO: Getty Images

What's more annoying than being extra careful about not getting any bites, but then, out of nowhere, you have two near your elbow and a billion on your legs?!

And when these bites swell up, they become even more unsightly. What we really want to know, though, is why do some insect bites swell up, but not all of them?

Obviously, it would make sense to ask the UK's leading insect expert, Dr. James Logan.

"Swelling can happen anywhere on the body," Dr. Logan explained. And the actual cause for such swelling? Not to do with an allergic reaction to the bite, as you might have imagined, but because the swollen bites have become more externally irritated than the others. "Perhaps by clothing or bedding rubbing against the bites," the doctor said.

"If they become irritated they often become more itchy, which can cause the reaction to get worse. Often areas around the arms and legs can be worse because the bites get rubbed by clothing and irritated," he added.

Dr. Logan's advice for irritated bites is, sadly, probably the same as your mom's: "Don't scratch them," he warned.

If your bites become swollen, you're advised to "keep the bite as clean as possible, use a cold compress and speak to a pharmacist about using antihistamines, pain killers, and any inflammatories like ibuprofen."

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.