What patients and families need to know
Keeping Safe from Insects and Bugs
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Summertime is just around the corner and with that comes increased exposure to the outdoor elements—sun, wind, and the inevitable presence of insects and others bugs. There are many precautions you can take as a parent to prevent your child from becoming a meal for insects and other critters. Check out some information and tips below about common insect and bug bites, and what you can do to remedy them.
Mosquitoes, bees, and wasps tend to be more common during the summer months. It’s important to note that mosquitoes tend to come out in late afternoon where there’s standing water, so it’s wise to put on insect repellent containing DEET. Additionally, if you are stung by a bee or wasp, be sure to use ice or a cool compress to help reduce inflammation.
Fleas, Mites, and Chiggers
Fleas, mites, and chiggers often bite humans, but are not poisonous. It is sometimes difficult to assess which type of insect caused the bite, or if the rash is caused by poison ivy or other skin conditions.
The following are the most common symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Small, raised skin lesions
- Pain or itching
- Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)
- Allergic-type reactions in hypersensitive children with swelling or blistering
To treatment of an insect bit will ultimately be determined by your child's health care provider. Though, some general guidelines for treatment may include the following:
- Clean the area well with soap and water.
- Use an antihistamine, if needed, for itching.
- Give your child acetaminophen, if needed, for discomfort.
- You should consult your child’s doctor if your child has:
- Persistent pain or itching
- Signs of infection at the site such as increased redness, warmth, swelling, or drainage
Ticks are small insects that live in grass, bushes, wooded areas, and along seashores. They attach their bodies onto a human or animal host and prefer hairy areas such as the scalp, behind the ear, in the armpit and groin, and also between fingers and toes. Tick bites often occur at night and occur more in the spring and summer months.
If you find a tick on your child:
- Do not touch the tick with your bare hand. If you do not have a pair of tweezers, take your child to your nearest health care facility where the tick can be removed safely.
- Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your child's skin as possible.
- Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Do not squeeze the tick, and do not use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.
- Save the tick and place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if necessary.
- Wash the area of the bite well with soap and water and apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.
- Call your child's physician to find out about follow-up care and testing of the tick for spirochetes (organisms that may be carried by the tick).
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