It’s almost like biting insects are drawn to your child. And, when your little one has an insect bite, it’s just about impossible to keep them from scratching away at the irritated site.
The best way to keep your child from scratching a bug bite is to prevent one in the first place. Use a safe insect repellent (only on children older than 2 months) that contains no more than 30% DEET.
Avoid areas where mosquitoes and other insects congregate, like garbage cans, uncovered foods, and small pools of water. Your child benefits from wearing clothing that covers exposed arms and legs, and make sure it’s made of a cool fabric like cotton or linen.
It’s likely, though, that your child will get a bite anyway despite your diligent efforts to keep the bugs at bay. Here’s how Dr. Lubega says to treat any insect bites and keep your child from scratching away and possibly causing inflammation and infection.
Prevent the itch
Ice can help ease inflammation associated with a bug bite, especially if it’s applied right away. If you see a mosquito or other biting insect on your child’s skin, brush it away and apply the ice right away. This can minimize the itching and swelling.
Ease the irritation
If your child has an irritated bug bite that’s itchy, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to stop the sensation. If they don’t feel the discomfort, they won’t scratch.
Trim sharp fingernails
Trim your child’s fingernails until they’re as short as possible. They may still go for the bug bite, but it won’t be as easy to break the skin -- causing bleeding and possible infection.
Try essential oils
Lavender oil and tea tree oil can ease inflammation. Mix the essential oil in a carrier oil, such as olive oil, and place a small drop on the site of the bite. Itching may just ease enough to relax your child’s urge to scratch.
Distract your child
If your child is bored or still, the itchiness of a bug bite is all the more noticeable. Keep your child distracted with fun play and activities so they aren’t as fixated on the uncomfortable itch.
What if the bite seems serious?
If your child has a bug bite that’s swollen, hot to the touch, or oozing pus, it could be infected. Head to First Pediatric Care Center for an evaluation.
If your child was stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet, itching may be the least of their worries. The resulting swelling and pain can be relieved with application of cold, wet compresses or an ice pack. If your child shows signs of an allergic reaction that compromises breathing, call 911 right away.
If your child experiences nausea, vomiting, fever, or headache following a mosquito bite, alert Dr. Lubega right away. This could be a sign of West Nile virus and requires immediate care.
Summer is a time for outdoor play, and being exposed to insects and the elements is just a natural side effect. Know that First Pediatric Care Center is here to provide you with any medical support you might need for your adventurous child. Call our office in Gastonia, North Carolina, for an appointment or use the online tool to book.