Most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild, causing little more than redness, itching, stinging or minor swelling. Rarely, insect bites and stings, such as from a bee, a wasp, a hornet, a fire ant or a scorpion, can result in severe reactions. Many invertebrates are responsible for transmitting diseases. For example: mosquitoes are perhaps the best known invertebrate vector and transmit a wide range of tropical diseases including malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever.
Tips Keep Your Child Safe From Insect Stings:
- Avoid areas that attract flying insects, such as garbage cans, dumpsters stagnant pools of water and flowerbeds or orchards.
- Check for nests in areas where children play (old tree stumps, around rotting wood, holes in the ground, auto tires that are part of a playground, around trash cans).
- Have insect nests removed by a professional exterminator.
- Don’t allow children who are allergic to insects to play outside alone when stinging insects are active. Even a dead insect can sting if a child steps on it or picks it up.
- A child who is allergic to insects should wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet.
- When eating outdoors, avoid foods that attract insects, such as tuna, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and watermelon. Sweetened drinks, frozen sweet treats, and ice cream.
- Keep door and window screens in good repair.
- If an insect is near, do not swat at it or run. These actions can trigger an attack. Walk away slowly. If you have disturbed a nest and the insects swarm around you, curl up as tightly as you can to reduce exposed skin. Keep your face down and cover your head with your arms.
- Wear shoes. Avoid wearing sandals or going barefoot.
- Avoid wearing bright colors and floral patterns. These can attract insects. Wear white, green, tan, and khaki. These colors are not as attractive to insects.
- Cover exposed skin as much as possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, a hat. and closed shoes. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection. Some bugs, such as tsetse flies, can bite through thin fabric.
- A broad-brimmed hat can help to keep insects away from the face. Mosquito netting may be used over baby carriers or strollers in areas where your baby may be exposed to insects.
- Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes, or hair sprays on your child because they may attract insects.
- Check your child’s skin at the end of the day if you live in an area where ticks are present and your child has been playing outdoors.
Instructions from the CDC on Applying Insect Repellent
- Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children younger than 3 years old.
- Children should not touch repellent. Adults should apply it to their hands and gently spread it over the child’s exposed skin.
- Do not apply repellent to children’s hands because they tend to put their hands in their mouths.
- Keep repellent out of the reach of children.
- For babies under 2 months old, protect them by draping mosquito netting over their carrier or car seat. Netting should have an elastic edge for a tight fit.
Tips for Using Repellent Safely