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How to Protect Your Children from Insect Bites

Children do not need to have any known allergies to have severe reactions to insect bites and stings. While you can’t prevent your children from ever being bitten or stung by an insect, here are a few helpful hints to minimize bug bites and stings:

  • Stay away from insect nests or other places where insets might congregate, such as standing water, garbage cans, blooming flower gardens and even uncovered foods.
  • When you know your children will be in an area where they may come into contact with bugs, have them wear long pants and a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt.
  • Don’t dress your children in flowery prints or brightly colored clothing.
  • Avoid using soaps and hair sprays that are scented, as well as all types of perfumes.

Insect bites, while they can be annoying, do not usually require medical attention and will generally disappear within a day. You can apply calamine lotion liberally to all areas except those around the eyes or genitals or even cool compresses to help relieve the itchiness that comes with normal bug bites. In the case of bee or wasp stings, you can reduce both the swelling and pain by immediately soaking a cloth in cold water and pressing it against the affected area. Make sure to contact your pediatrician before using any other form of treatment, including home remedies and lotions and creams that contain antihistamines. You doctor should be the one to decide if an oral antihistamine is needed to counter sever itching.

Your child will probably want to scratch his or her bug bite, so make sure their fingernails are cut short and stay clean to avoid infection. You can usually spot an infection because the bite will increase in size and become swollen and redder. In certain instances, you might see yellow fluid or red streaks, and your child could develop a fever. In case of infection, make sure to contact your pediatrician to see if an antibiotic is warranted.

Call for medical help immediately if there’s any other symptoms, like collapsing or passing out; difficulty breathing; weakness; hives or extreme cases of itching; or swelling near the eyes, lips or genitals after being bitten or stung.