While you’d love to keep your baby in a plastic bubble until he leaves for college, there will inevitably be a time when he or she gets a few bumps and bruises. One common problem that many infants face is getting bug bites when they spend time outside. When you bring your baby into the great outdoors you should try to prevent bug bites by keeping his or her skin covered with clothing, which will also prevent sunburn. However, mosquito bites and bee stings are unavoidable sometimes. Usually, they are harmless. Though, you need to know the symptoms of an allergic reaction so that you can act fast.

If your baby is allergic to any insect, you obviously won’t know until the first bite. If the bug bite looks normal and no other symptoms prevent themselves, it won’t cause anything more than a little bit of discomfort. If your child is allergic, he or she might start vomiting, wheezing or acting confused. A rash or hives might appear and the throat and lips could swell. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice even just one of these symptoms.

Once you realize that medical attention is required, it’s important that you try to keep your baby calm and still. A rapid heartbeat will only cause the reaction to spread more quickly through the body, so do everything you can to make the situation relaxing. Also, lay your baby in such a way that keeps the bite or sting below the heart. Use gravity to your advantage. Once your baby is in the care of a physician, the reaction will be controlled. Then, your baby’s pediatrician will give you instructions on how to handle the allergy.

Even if your baby is not allergic, bug bites and stings will cause a lot of discomfort. An infant isn’t coordinated enough to scratch the itchy bites, so all he will do is cry. Basically, you should try to prevent them as much as possible to save yourself the trouble and your baby the discomfort. If for some reason your baby gets a lot of itchy bug bites, ask his or her pediatrician for a safe topical treatment to ease the discomfort. Don’t pick one without consulting a physician, because it could contain potentially harmful chemicals. You’ll never be able to completely prevent bug bites, but it’s important that you know hot to handle them appropriately.

Source: E G Weinberg: An Approach to the Allergic Child. Official Journal of the South African Academy of Family Physicians Volume 11 Issue 8 2009

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