two people hikingMost people know someone allergic to bee stings. But did you know that mosquitos, flies, fleas and tarantulas can also cause allergic reactions?

Dr. Mfon Ekong, a pediatrician affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, tells us, “Fortunately, most insect-related allergic reactions children have can be treated at home with supportive care. Parents can clean the affected area, apply ice, elevate the body part if swelling is present, and use common topical over-the-counter medications such as anti-itch products.” For more significant, long-lasting reactions, parents should consult with their pediatricians, who may consider prescribing anti-inflammatory medications or antihistamines.

If a bug sting or bite induces sever pain or breathing problems, an emergency room visit may be required.

Dr. Ekong Stresses the Importance of Insect Bite Prevention

Did you know? About two million Americans have allergies to the venom of stinging insects.

  • Avoid areas of standing water, as well as heavily shaded and humid areas.
  • If you know you will be outside near flying insects, avoid wearing brightly colored cloth­ing and strong-smelling perfume or colognes.
  • Use insect repellent as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Avoid insect nests. Yellow jackets nest in dirt mounds on the ground, old logs and walls. Hornets and wasps nest in bushes, trees and on buildings.

If insect-related allergies are suspected (af­ter, say, an allergic reaction occurs), parents should visit an allergist or immunologist. If a significant insect-related allergic reaction occurs, especially those requiring emergency treatment, parents should discuss with their pediatrician if there is a need for referral to an allergist or immunologist. Parents can also obtain prescription antihistamines and EpiPen kits from their primary care physicians.

Now go forth with your butterfly nets and mosquito spray, and stay safe!

Know the Signs

Mild allergy symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Itching and redness
  • Pimple-like bumps
  • Swelling
  • Warm skin around the sting

Severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Hives or rashes
  • Swelling of the face, throat, or mouth
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness, sudden decreased blood pressure or increased pulse

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