About BUG BITES at CCG Ped’s Blog
I don’t know about you but just looking at a picture of a bug can make my skin crawl and I certainly don’t want to think about them biting my children, right? But it does happen and I thought I would check out the latest information on bug bites and give you the FYI.
Most bug bites and stings will heal on their own without a visit to the doctor. There are several things you can do to relieve the pain and itching from a bite or sting.
Prevention: Bees are attracted to bright colors and patterns so if you are going outside where bees hang out dress your child in plain, neutral colors. Bee’s also love sweet smelling stuff, hair gel perfumes, great smelling lotion, pop, lemonade or foods. It does not help to shoo a bee or swat at it, it is best to tell your child to stand still like a statue. When provoked bees will sting.
Treatment: Move away from the stinging insect, try to remain calm as moving around will spread the venom in the blood stream. If the stinger is still in the skin, remove it as quickly as possible. Take something like a credit card and gently try to whisk it out or use a pair of tweezers to pull it out. Wash the area with soap and water and then place a wet cloth on the area and lay an ice pack on it for 10- 15 minutes. Do not lay an ice pack directly on the skin. If you or your child develops swollen lips, tongue or a hard time breathing get medical help immediately. Over the counter drugs such as Benadryl which is oral can help relieve itching. Benadryl also comes in a gel and spray that is put on the skin. Aloe Vera is soothing for bites. (It can be bought over the counter or you can use it directly from a plant)
Prevention: Make sure that you observe the time of day it is. It is best to avoid dawn and dusk, also stay away from standing water. You can buy Mosquito dunks or donuts, that can be thrown in standing water and destroy the larvae of the mosquito. Minimize areas of exposed skin. It is best to wear long sleeves, tuck in shirts, and pull socks up over pants. Sandals or open toed shoes are not good for bug bite prevention, wear close toe shoes and socks.
Treatment: Repellents are one of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away. It is important that you never spray your face. It is better to apply by spraying your hands and then rub it into your face and other areas. Do not apply repellent to your child’s fingers, hands or near the mouth. In my research I did not hear great things about clip on repellents. They only work if you are not moving around and they are costly. Also The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using products that only have 30 percent DEET with children. Never use DEET on babies younger than 2 months. Pyrethrum (made from cone flower heads, you can buy it in liquid form) may be applied to your clothing, shoes and jackets to keep bugs away.
Prevention: Spiders like to hide in dark places, it is best to teach your children to shake out their shoes and any clothes that are left on the floor before putting them on. If you see many spider webs you can bet you have spiders. Most spider bites are harmless. If you are traveling to warm areas of the US or a foreign country you may want to ask if they have dangerous spiders.
Treatment: If you suspect a spider bite on your child skin clean the area with soap and water and apply an ice pack if needed for 10-15 minutes over a cloth. Then you can apply antibiotic ointment to the area. If your child develops a large red area or problems swallowing or breathing call your pediatrician.
I wanted to talk a minute about the worse case scenario. If a bug bite becomes infected it can cause a cellulitis. Cellulitis is the spreading of a bacterial infection that is under the skin. So if a bug bite is not getting better over a few days and starts to swell, becomes tender, and the red area starts to expand, or you have pain, warmth to the skin, a fever develops, blisters or skin dimpling. You should call your child’s primary physician. Also you can take a pen and draw a line around the area where the redness is. This will help you to judge how big it is getting. It is important to treat a cellulitis early because it can spread throughout the body and make your child very ill.
Hope these tips help you to have minimal bites this summer.