Bites and Stings: Insects

Bites and Stings: Insects

Fleas, mites, and chiggers:

Fleas, mites, and chiggers often bite humans, but are not poisonous. It is sometimes difficult to assess which type of insect caused the bite, or if the rash is caused by poison ivy or other skin conditions.

What are the symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite?

The following are the most common symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for bites caused by fleas, mites and chiggers:

Specific treatment for these insect bites will be determined by your physician. Some general guidelines for treatment may include the following:

When should I call my physician?

Call your physician if any, or all, of the following symptoms are present:

Call 911 or your local emergency medical service (EMS) if the individual has signs of a severe allergic reaction such as trouble breathing, tightness in the throat or chest, feeling faint, dizziness, hives, and/or nausea and vomiting.

Tick bites:

Ticks are small insects that live in grass, bushes, wooded areas, and seashores. They attach their bodies onto a human or animal host and prefer hairy areas such as the scalp, behind the ear, in the armpit and groin, and also between fingers and toes. Tick bites often occur at night and occur more in the spring and summer months.

What to do if you find a tick on your child:

Regardless of how careful you are about animals in your home, or how many precautions you take when your child is outdoors playing, animal and insect bites and stings are sometimes unavoidable.

By remaining calm and knowing some basic first aid techniques, you can help your child overcome both the fear and the trauma of bites and stings.

Facts about insect stings:

Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets belong to a class of insects called Hymenoptera. Most insect stings cause only minor discomfort. Stings can occur anywhere on the body and can be painful and frightening for a child. Over 95 percent of stings are from honey bees or yellow jackets. Fire ants, usually found in southern states, can sting multiple times, and the sites are more likely to become infected.

The two greatest risks from most insect stings are allergic reaction (which can sometimes be fatal if the allergic reaction is severe enough) and infection (more common and less serious).

What are the symptoms of an insect sting?

The following are the most common symptoms of insect stings. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Treatment for stings:

Specific treatment for stings will be determined by your child's physician. Large local reactions usually do not lead to generalized reactions. However, they can be life threatening if the sting occurs in the mouth, nose, or throat area. This is due to swelling that can close off the airway.

Treatment for local skin reactions only may include:

Call 911 or your local emergency medical service (EMS) and seek emergency care immediately if your child is stung in the mouth, nose, or throat area, or for any signs of a systemic or generalized reaction.

Emergency medical treatment may include the following:

Prevention of insect stings:

Some general guidelines to help reduce the possibility of insect stings while outdoors include:

Some additional preventive measures for children who have a known or suspected allergy to stings include the following:

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