Insects are Inevitable: Relax . . . But Be Prepared

The heavy air of summer is returning. This is the time of year that mosquitoes and other insects thrive. It’s also the time of year your children have the most access to the outdoors. There’s no need to keep them locked inside, but when your kids come in with alarming welts from unidentified insects, you may need to seek a medical opinion.

Alabama is home to mosquitoes that potentially carry Zika and West Nile, bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, horse flies and “yellow flies,” brown recluse and black widow spiders (the only truly deadly varieties), fire ants, ticks, fleas, and—as if that weren’t enough to worry about—bed bugs.

Children itch worse than adults from mosquito bites, but that is usually the extent of it. If you know what a common mosquito bite looks like on your child, there is nothing to worry about except trying to keep them covered in high-risk areas. If it comes down to a choice between a DEET-containing spray and a child covered in mosquitoes, choose the DEET. If not, do what works for you. Of course, if your child develops symptoms peripheral to the bites themselves, like a sudden fever or rash elsewhere, it’s time to take them in. Mosquitoes do kill more humans than any other creature worldwide—and a select few of the diseases they carry are in the U.S.

Children may have allergic reactions to the following: honeybees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants. In the case of a bee, you may see the stinger in the bite with a venom sac attached. Try to remove the stinger without bursting the sac. Younger children may not know what bit them, and you may not know what they are allergic to. If any bite appears around the face or throat or if non-local reactions begin, it’s best to come in and visit one of our urgent care locations. Over 40 people per year do die of allergic reactions to insect bites.

If you have not been tick-scanning your child regularly, and you find one full of blood, it may be best to have your child looked over for any symptoms of Lyme disease. This would be a good time to start a daily tick-scan, because most cases of Lyme disease occur after 24 hours of feeding by a tick.

You’ll also want to visit if anything that resembles the two-pronged black widow bite—it’s best to go to the doctor, rather than enduring the anxiety and ceaseless internet scanning.

The benefits of the outdoors far outweigh the risks. Sedentary lifestyles cause far more problems than insects in our state. Whether it’s ultimately anti-venom or an EpiPen your child needs, you can rest easy bringing them to MedHelp.

And don’t let them scratch! Harmless bites can still develop nasty infections.

Emily Perry