Insects make up half of all the living organisms on earth, so it makes sense your child might come into contact with them once in a while. The occasional mosquito bite is to be expected here in North Carolina.
But, some bug bites can spread dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease and Zika virus. And some kids may be seriously allergic to bee stings or other bug bites.
It’s important that you treat any insect bites your child receives and monitor them for complications like swelling or infection. If you need medical help for an insect bite our pediatrician, Margaret Lubega, MD, of First Pediatric Care in Gastonia, North Carolina, is here to help.
Here’s what to know about insect bites and your child.
Insect sting and bite treatment at home
If your child experiences a bee sting, an over-the-counter pain reliever helps ease their discomfort. If you aren’t sure of the proper dosage, contact our office for guidance.
Carefully remove the stinger and wash the area thoroughly with unscented soap and warm water. Apply ice to the site of bug stings and bites, especially those that itch, to ease the discomfort. Icing a bug bite or sting also helps reduce any swelling.
For other bug bites, wash the affected area and keep it clean and dry to prevent infection. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams can help ease any inflammation associated with a mosquito or ant bite. Oral antihistamines are another option to address itching.
Reducing the urge to scratch can also keep your child from scraping the area so they break the skin and it bleeds, which creates an environment vulnerable to infection.
When to seek medical care
If your child has a known allergy to certain insect bites or stings, seek care right away. You should also call our office right away if your child develops a rash, body aches, or a fever in response to a bug bite. Even if the area around the insect bite becomes hot to the touch or reddens, schedule an appointment at our office.
If you’re concerned that your child has come into contact with a deadly insect, like a black widow spider, seek immediate medical treatment. Head to your nearest emergency room and bring the insect with you (if possible) in a sealed container for reference.
Should you find a tick on your child, remove it right away using a pair of tweezers. Wash the area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. If any part of the tick is left under your child’s skin, seek care to have it removed. If you can, save the tick for review by Dr. Lubega. She can determine if your child is at increased risk of developing Lyme disease.
Prevent insect bites
The best way to avoid needing medical care for insect bites is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Use insect repellent on your child’s exposed skin and clothing. Seek out one with 20-30% DEET and apply after you’ve put on sunscreen.
Have your child wear long sleeves and long pants if they’re headed to densely-wooded areas. Tuck their pants into their socks to keep bugs from crawling underneath.
Insect bites are a part of our world, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate the effects of their bites and stings. Treat insect bites wisely to prevent infection or complications, and if you have any concerns, contact us right away. Call our office in Gastonia, North Carolina, or use the online tool to book your appointment.