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Bug Bites, Be Gone!

How to deal with your kids’ mosquito, tick and spider bites (and other outdoor ailments) this season

bug bites

Late summer is often spent outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. Perhaps you want to take the family on picnic, a weekend hike, or for one last dip in the local stream. Maybe you’re even considering a weekend camping trip to inspire some family bonding.

All of these experiences can be wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors before the weather turns cold. Unfortunately, there are countless pesky bugs out there, not to mention bothersome plants, such as poison ivy.

Below, you’ll find advice for how to deal with some of the most common reasons why your child might yell, “ouch!” this season.  

Treating Tick Bites

If your child has been bitten by a tick, don’t panic — most tick bites are harmless. Some ticks can cause conditions like Lyme disease, but transmission can only occur if the tick has been attached to the skin for 24 hours.

To remove a tick, grab a pair of tweezers and pull the tick out slowly in an upward motion. Try to get the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and avoid squeezing the tick. After removal, wash your hands, as well as the bite area, with rubbing alcohol or warm, soapy water.

If a rash with a bull’s-eye pattern develops within three to 14 days following the tick bite, visit the doctor, as this can be an indication of Lyme disease. You should also visit the doctor if you think the bite is infected or if your child exhibits any flu-like symptoms.

Caring for Spider Bites and Mosquito Bites

Most of the time, spider bites and mosquito bites are nothing more than run-of-the-mill annoyances. You should treat them with an over-the-counter anti-itch cream and encourage your child to avoid excessive scratching.

Signs of a mild allergic reaction to a spider or mosquito bite could be swelling near the bite spot or a minor rash. These can usually be remedied with an over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl. Although rare, signs of a more severe allergic reaction due to a bug bite can include shortness of breath, wheezing or tightness in the chest.

Managing Bee Stings

If your little one doesn’t have an allergy to bees, you should first remove the stinger (this can be done with the edge of a credit card), then ice the area and give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen if they say the bite spot hurts. You should also clean the area in the days following the sting to prevent infection.

If your child has a history of allergic reactions to bee stings or you suspect an allergic reaction is occurring, call 911 immediately. (Symptoms of an allergic reaction include facial swelling and trouble breathing.) If you have epinephrine on hand, inject it immediately.

Handling Poison Ivy

If you suspect your child has a rash due to poison ivy exposure, wash his or her skin immediately, then apply a soothing lotion or ointment. You can also give your child a cool bath to alleviate itchiness. You should take your child to urgent care or your pediatrician if the rash is widespread, has affected your child’s face or genitals, or if your child has trouble breathing. 

When to Visit Urgent Care

You might be wondering whether your child’s reaction to a bug bite or plant like poison ivy necessitates a visit to an Inova Urgent Care. A good rule of thumb is that if the reaction is located to the site of contact, you should be OK with watchful waiting. If there is excessive swelling, a widespread rash or shortness of breath, consider visiting Urgent Care.


Need to take your little one to Urgent Care? Find the Inova Urgent Care Center nearest to you.

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