The warmer seasons provide a great time to get out and enjoy all that the outdoors can offer. However, the warmth also brings back insects and their bug bites and stings.
Most bug bites and stings are fairly harmless, even if they are painful, but there are occasions when insects can inflict more serious injuries or spread illnesses through their bites. It is important to know how to properly treat bug bites and stings at home to provide relief, as well as what you should do if a bite turns out to be more serious.
How to Treat an Uncomplicated Insect Bite or Sting
The first thing to remember when your child is bitten or stung is to keep them as calm as possible. An anxious or overly excited response will raise heart and respiration rates, and this may spread the venom or enhance painful side-effects.
Once you have calmed your child, take a few moments to look at the site of the bite or sting. If you notice a stinger remains embedded, which is common in the event of bee stings, you will want to properly remove it as soon as possible.
If there is significant swelling around the bite or sting, place an ice pack on the location. If possible, keep the area elevated to help reduce throbbing. Should swelling progress, there may be an allergic reaction occurring, so medical intervention may be required.
If pain from the bite is severe, you can use over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen and other painkillers to reduce its impact. Be careful when giving over-the-counter medications to your child, as an excessive amount of some, such as acetaminophen, can lead to internal organ failure.
Bites and stings from bugs that cause itching, such as mosquito bites, can be treated using hydrocortisone cream to help reduce discomfort. To prevent getting bit by mosquitos, use insect repellant when going outdoors. Using a repellant with DEET will also help keep ticks from biting.
What to Know About Serious Bug Bites and Stings
For individuals affected by insect allergies, almost all bug bites and stings are potentially serious and can lead to significant illness or life-threatening reactions. In those instances, an affected child should be taken immediately to a doctor for urgent help. If you are aware of a severe allergy from bee stings, for example, it is important to always have an EpiPen® or other allergic-reaction solution as prescribed by your child’s pediatrician.
In addition, if your child is bit by infected ticks, fleas or mosquitoes, there are a few noteworthy illnesses that can strike at a later date. These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, encephalitis, Lyme disease, Zika virus, and others.
The individual symptoms from these diseases vary, but common warning signs including fever, chills, joint aches and pain, fatigue, unusual rashes, and severe headaches. If you are concerned your child may have one of these serious complications after receiving a bug bite or sting, be sure to get them to a doctor immediately.
When it’s time to get outside and play, be prepared to handle any insect interactions that will inevitably occur. If you have any concerns with a recent bite or sting, contact us for an examination and treatment suggestions to provide your child with relief.