This content has been clinically reviewed by Tracy Nailor, MD.
Ouch! As the weather heats up, kids head outside to play, upping their chances of painful bug bites and bee stings. While most bites and stings are more annoying than dangerous, some can, in rare cases, cause an allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
Signs of a mild reaction include:
- Local swelling
- Mild itching
- Warmth at the site of the bite
Signs of a severe reaction that requires medical attention right away include:
- Swelling of the face or mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Scratchy or itchy throat
- Chest tightness, wheezing or trouble breathing
- Dizziness, fainting or confusion
- Nausea, vomiting or belly cramping
- Hives that are rapidly spreading over the body
You can prevent bites and stings by:
- Leaving bugs alone. Remind your child to stay away from ant hills, bee hives, wasp nests and wood piles.
- Checking around your home for buckets, pots, bird baths, old tires that could have standing water (a breeding ground for mosquitoes).
- Using bug spray containing 20 to 30 percent DEET when headed outdoors. Apply bug spray AFTER sunscreen.
- Wearing protective clothing like hat, long sleeves, long pants and closed shoes when headed to wooded areas especially or whenever there is a possibility of increased exposure to insects.
- Being careful while eating outside. Bugs love food.
- If your child has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), ask your pediatrician about prescribing emergency epinephrine (Epi-Pen).
If your child’s outdoor play does get sidelined by a bite or sting, these first-aid tips can help.