Insect Bites

Home Care for Itchy and Painful Insect bites

Note: If your child has problems breathing, swallowing or gets hives within 30 minutes of the bite, get help immediately. Also note: Just because you or your child are bitten by a flying evil insect does not mean you will have difficulty breathing, swallowing or will get hives. Not all insect bites cause allergic reactions.

Itchy Bites
These are probably from mosquitoes, usually on an area not covered by clothing. The bite involves the insect taking a drop of blood from its victim. The bites are red, itchy and swollen and get worse when you scratch. Some of these bites form hard bumps that take forever to go away. Others swell a lot, but just because they do doesn't mean that the child is allergic to mosquito bites.

The bites that occur near the eye can swell massively for a couple of days. You can use calamine lotion or baking soda on the bite. Bites near the eye may feel a bunch better if you use some ice on them. If you want to, or the itch is really nasty, then use 1% hydrocortisone (like cortisone 10) on the bite about four times a day.

Really itchy bites not controlled by anything you try might be better with benadryl. Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain. And try (all we ask is that you try) to keep the kids from picking at the bite. We only need to see the bites if they look infected-red, ugly and tender. Bites near the eye need to be seen if there is a fever along with it, if the child is complaining of problems seeing, if you get gooky stuff out of the eye or if it is just so swollen that you would feel much better with me taking a look at it. Bites near the eye swell a bunch-  much more than you would expect.  Just look for the symptoms I mention above before you worry too much.

Painful Bites
These are from whatever evil flying insect decided to get you. This type of bite involves the injection of poison into the victim. Not all stings cause hideous allergic reactions but I know many of you worry about it as soon as the bite occurs.  Allergic reactions are pretty rare. Any respiratory problem, difficulty swallowing or eruption of hives after the bite should be your cue to go to the nearest ER. Short of that, we need to control the pain. Rub the area with a cotton ball soaked in meat tenderizer for 20 minutes or so. The enzymes in the meat tenderizer break down the poison. You can use baking soda or ice should your supply of meat tenderizer be low. And acetaminophen or ibuprofen is in order for pain relief.