Summer is here, but what makes this year more special is that children can now visit and play in parks, lakes, beaches, and woods again. It’s a welcome change from last year. However, with this new freedom comes encounters with insects. Most insects can be a nuisance, but others can cause medical problems that require medical attention in urgent care or emergency room.
Not all insects post a threat. but the most notorious ones that can cause medical issues are:
- Fire ants
How parents can protect their children from insect bites
Some parents may think the only way to protect their children from insect bites is to stay inside. However, you don’t have to avoid the outdoors altogether. There are some steps parents can take to keep their little ones safe while enjoying the warm weather.
Be mindful of where and when these insects are most prevalent. For instance, mosquitos are more likely to dwell around water or areas high in moisture. They’re also most active in the early morning and evening. You may find bees, wasps, and hornets’ nests in old tree stumps, near rotting wood, and holes in the ground. Avoid these spots when going to parks or wooded areas.
When playing outside, children should always wear shoes instead of sandals, especially when playing near water. They can also wear long-sleeved or quarter-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Parents can tuck their children’s shirts into their pants and pants into their socks for maximum protection. For children who have are allergic to insects can wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet.
You can never go wrong with insect repellent or bug spray. Repellents that contain 10-30% DEET are safe and protect against mosquitos and ticks. Repellents that contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective against mosquitos.
When eating outside, certain foods can attract stinging insects. Examples are peanut butter and jelly, watermelon, sweetened drinks, and frozen treats like ice cream.
If an insect is nearby, avoid swatting them because this can trigger an attack. Instead, walk away slowly.
If you and your child have been in the woods or tall grass, look for ticks. Check behind the ears, armpits, groin, behind the knees, and in the scalp.
How to treat insect bites
If your child is bit or stung by an insect, apply an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes once an hour. When you’re not using ice, keep a cool, wet cloth on the bite or sting for up to six hours. Keep the area elevated to decrease swelling. If the pain or swelling worsens, go to the nearest Urgent Care.
Parents should also seek care if the following occurs:
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea, or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Muscle spasms
- Increased or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- A sensation of the throat closing or difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Fainting or weakness
If you notice swelling, redness, and warmth extending from the bite a few days later, it could be a sign of infection. The infected area will need evaluation for possible treatment with antibiotics.
Are you worried about your insect bites and allergic reactions this summer? Reach out to Children’s Urgent Care Pediatric Specialists. Visit their website at ucc4kids.com. They treat kids and keep parents happy.