Insect Bites and Stings
As your child plays outside during the warmer months, they can come into contact with biting and stinging insects.
Bees, yellow jackets, and wasps are probably the most common and can be found in flowers, shrubs, picnic areas, orchards, and beaches. These insects are also attracted to garbage cans and uncovered foods, sweets, and sugary drinks.
Stings from these insects cause pain and swelling. Although stings can hurt, they usually begin to disappear by the next day and do not require treatment by a doctor.
While most children have only small reactions, those who are allergic to certain insect venoms can have severe symptoms that require emergency treatment. Some children have severe reactions, like difficulty breathing and swelling all over their body. If you believe your child may be having an allergic response like this call emergency line immediately.
Teach your child to never disturb an insect hive or nest. Teach them to never swat at buzzing insects because this might cause them to feel threatened and sting.
If you know you will be going out to an area with a lot of stinging insects, avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints, because they seem to attract insects. Also, avoid using scented soaps and perfume.
Mosquito bites cause a stinging feeling followed by a small, red, itchy mound at the spot of the bite. Avoid mosquito bites by following these tips:
- Stay away from areas where mosquitoes breed, like pools or ponds, during warm weather.
- Remove standing water from around your home, from birdbaths, buckets, etc. to prevent mosquitos from breeding.
- Stay inside when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk and wear insect repellent when you are outside around mosquitoes.
Insect repellent should be sprayed on before going outdoors to places where there are lots of insects.
Insect repellents help to prevent bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and biting flies but DO NOT protect against stinging insects such as bees, hornets, and wasps.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that insect repellents should only be used on children over 6 months of age.
Use repellent on the outside of clothing and on exposed skin. Never spray repellent on your child’s face. Instead, spray a little in your hand and rub it on their face. Be careful to avoid their eyes and mouth. Avoid putting it on cuts as well.
DEET and Picaridin are two chemicals found in repellents that help to keep insects away. Children should use insect repellents that contain 30% DEET or 5% to 10% Picaridin. The amount of DEET or Picaridin in the repellent can be found on the bottle’s label.
Q & A
Q: I like taking my daughter to the lake where it is sunny and there are lots of bugs and insects. Is it safe to use sunscreen and insect repellent on her skin at the same time?
A: Yes, it is safe to use sunscreen and insect repellent at the same time. However, you should avoid using products that have both sunscreen and insect repellent in them.
This is because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours while insect repellent should only be used once a day. For this reason, use separate sunscreen and insect repellent products.
Also, be sure to wash off the insect repellent with soap and water at the end of the day.