Bzzz…Slap! How to Keep Your Kid Bug-Bite Free this Summer

Bzzz…Slap! How to Keep Your Kid Bug-Bite Free this Summer

Written by Erin Eckhart, M.D. on May 27, 2015 10:00:00 AM

As the weather heats up, many families will be spending more and more time outside with their children. While fresh air is good for you and your little one, make sure to protect them from the other things that come from being outside. Be prepared to prevent bug bites and sun exposure as the days get longer and you’re able to spend more time outside! 

Use a Good Insect Repellant

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If your child is going to be outside, the best way to stop insect bites, other than head-to-toe clothing, is to use a good insect repellant. Insect repellant can only be used on children 2 months and older, however, so infants younger than 2 months should be kept inside until they can safely use bug spray. The active ingredient in bug spray is called deets, and we recommend selecting a repellant that has between a 10 percent and 30 percent deet content. Not only is it more effective, but it lasts longer on the skin. Ten percent deets repellant lasts about two hours before you have to reapply, and the higher the percentage the longer it will last.  If your child is outside for an extended period of time, remember to reapply to keep them bite free. 

Treating Pesky Mosquito and Fire Ant Bites

The most common threats as far as biting insects here in Texas go are typically mosquitoes and fire ants. Luckily for most people, a couple of these bites aren’t a real issue and will go away fairly quickly. If your child has itching associated with these bites, you can give them children’s Benadryl to stop the irritation.  

When to Seek Medical Care

If your child experiences abnormal swelling, streaky redness, discoloration, vomiting or fever, they may be having an allergic reaction, or the bite could be infected and it’s important to call your physician to check on their situation. If they’re having trouble breathing, obviously get them to a hospital immediately. For the most part, parents typically don’t know their child will be allergic to a specific type of insect bite until they’ve been bitten, so just keep an eye on the bite and your child’s symptoms. 

Remember Sun Protection!

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If you’re going to be outside, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the sunlight, at least for a portion of the day. Remember that your child’s skin is sensitive and susceptible to sunburn. Make sure you’re using plenty of sunscreen and reapplying it every two hours. While there are some combination sunscreen/insect repellants out there, I don’t recommend using them. Sunscreen typically needs to be reapplied more frequently than insect repellant, so I think it’s best to use them separately. Sunscreen can be used on children 6 months and older.  Limit sun exposure for children younger than 6 months by keeping them indoors or making sure they are covered with clothes or an umbrella and a hat.

 

Eckhart_ErinDr. Erin Eckhart is a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Clear Lake whose clinical interests include preventive health and parent education. 

Topics: bug spray, fire ant, insect bites, deet, bug bites, insect repellant, mosquito

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