Pediatric Specialists of Plano

What parents need to know about insect bites and stings, allergic reactions and treatment

Insect bites and stings are a part of childhood. As a parent, you need to know how to treat them and what to do if your child has an allergic reaction. Most of the time, when children are bitten or stung, they experience irritation, some pain, bumps and/or itching. Sometimes, kids have more serious reactions. Our Plano pediatricians have the answers you need to care for kids after bugs sting or bite them as well as tips on how to prevent bee stings, tick bites and more.

Treating normal and severe reactions to insect bites and stings

You should wash the area of the bite or sting with soap and water. Next, we recommend applying an ice pack or cold cloth if your child has pain and irritation. If an insect stings your child, it’s vital to remove the stinger. If your child shows the following signs, you should seek medical attention for him or her.

  • Swelling in the mouth or face
  • A bite or sting inside or near the mouth
  • Dizziness, feeling faint or fainting
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or tightness in the chest
  • A known allergy to stings or bites

Dealing with allergic reactions

When children are allergic to insect bites and stings, they can experience severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis usually happens immediately after a bite or sting, but it can happen two or more hours after the incident. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing and swallowing and can be life-threatening. You should call 911 for emergency medical help if this happens to your child.

If your child carries injectable epinephrine, we recommend that you administer it immediately and call 911. If injectable epinephrine isn’t available, a conscious child can take Benadryl or generic diphenhydramine after you call 911.

Preventing bug bites and stings

Our Plano pediatricians have some tips to help you prevent insect bites and stings in the first place.

  • Children should not play barefoot in grassy or wooded areas
  • Dress children in long sleeves and long pants to avoid tick bites in wooded areas or places with high grass.
  • Avoid leaving open cans or cups of soft drinks and open containers of food outdoors, as this can attract stinging insects.
  • Mosquitoes breed in areas where there is standing water and are particularly active at dawn and dusk. People can stay indoors at those times, avoid mosquito-prone areas and apply insect repellent containing 10% to 30% DEET for children 2 months and older.
  • Children should learn to avoid places where spiders like to hide, such as the corners of rooms and piles of wood.
  • Everyone should avoid disturbing bees’ nests.

Our Plano pediatricians are happy to answer your questions about bites and stings. Contact us for an appointment.