Wherever your summer plans take you and your family – beaches, pools, forests, parks – chances are, the insect and arachnid families will be there, too. Bites and stings are unfortunately an expected, yet unpleasant, part of the great outdoors.
The good news is that beyond the temporary discomfort or pain, bug bites and stings generally do not cause long-lasting health problems for children. However, it’s important to recognize the signs of a severe allergic reaction, so you can get your child prompt treatment if necessary.
Common bug bites
What are the common bites and stings you can expect?
|Type of bug||Reaction||Is the bite/sting dangerous?|
|Flea and bedbug bites||Local irritation (some children may not even notice them)||Generally not|
|Tick and mosquito bites||Local swelling and itchiness; monitor for a few days in case of a delayed reaction||Generally not|
|Spider bites||Swelling||No, UNLESS caused by a black widow or brown recluse spider. If you’re not sure, seek medical attention.|
|Bee and wasp stings||Temporary redness, swelling, pain||Generally not, but it may cause a severe allergic reaction in certain children.|
Preventing bites and stings (as much as possible)
As parents know, there is no foolproof way to prevent the bumps and bruises – and bites and stings – of childhood. So be proactive about prevention, but also be prepared to treat the bites when they happen.
Ouch! Now what?
You took all the necessary precautions, but suddenly you hear the howl. Your child got bitten or stung. Remember to keep calm. Most of the time, the pain or discomfort will recede, sometimes within a few minutes, so it’s important not to panic.
Treating bites or stings is relatively simple:
When you’re packing your hiking bags, throw in some pain relievers, antihistamine cream and clean cloths, so you’re ready for anything.
Mild vs. severe allergic reactions
The severity of the reaction depends on two factors:
Mild allergic reactions generally include red bumps, itchiness or mild swelling and do not require medical attention. However, if your child experiences the following severe symptoms, seek medical assistance as soon as possible:
If you would like to talk to a pediatric expert about your child’s health, contact the primary and urgent care specialists at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. We also invite you to learn more about Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
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