🐜It’s that time of year…mosquitos, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and biting flies are out in full force.
Fresh air and getting out into nature is fun, as well as beneficial for good health and emotional well being. But how do you best protect your babies and young children from the discomfort of insect bites and the possibility of mosquito- or tick-borne diseases?
We’ve compiled three lists for you:
1) effective ways to prevent bug bites and the diseases they may carry
2) safe ways to treat and relieve symptoms
3) when it’s time to call the doctor
Our recommendations are compiled from the guidelines put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control, and the Environmental Working Group. Reference links provided at the bottom of this page.
First, a few points to highlight…
Despite being annoying and causing temporary discomfort and pain, bug bites are usually harmless. Typical reactions are localized to the bite site, and may or may not include varying levels of pain, itch, rash, swelling, sensation of heat, tingling, or numbness. These physical reactions are due to an immune reaction in the body, which produces histamines and stimulates nerves, increasing blood flow and sending white blood cells to the area to promote healing. Some bites will produce a water blister in the center, which is normal. Infants may be more prone to developing a blister than older children. Some insects, such as fire ants, can cause a painful and itching raised area containing pus. Do not pop a blister or pustule.
A few ways to minimize irritation and soothe the affected area:
**Antihistamines will not help with pain, only itching. After consulting with your doctor, use an age appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for painful bites.**
If the area becomes infected (usually from scratching with dirty fingers), apply an antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage. Repeat 3 times per day until it’s healed.
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR:
The majority of insect bites are uncomfortable, but harmless. There are, however, instances where a more extreme reaction or infection may occur. Monitor your child closely and if any of the following occur, or your gut tells you something is wrong, call right away.
An anaphylactic reaction from an insect bite is very rare, but severe and may be life-threatening. The main symptoms are difficulty breathing and swallowing, starting anytime within 2 hours of the bite. Anaphylaxis occurs more commonly with stinging insects. Read more on this HERE.
Insect Bite and Repellent Tips from the AAP
EWG’s 2018 Guide to Bug Repellents: For Kids
EWG’s Top Three Bug Repellent Recommendations For Kids
Healthy Children: Choosing An Insect Repellent For Your Child
Is DEET Bad For You (And Your Kids)? A Look At Bug Spray Safety
The Health Benefits Of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Children’s Health: Treating Bug Bites and Stings In Children
EWG’s 2018 Guide To Bug Repellents: Treated Clothing: A Safe Option?
***The information provided on our website is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.***