Insect Bites and Stings – Reactions and How to Treat a Child in Your Care | Early Learning Centres
Australia is blessed with such a wonderful and diverse climate, landscape and eco-system that it is no wonder a plethora of insects enjoy residing here just as much as we do! Much of the time we already have enough practices in place to deter these pesky little beasts from invading our homes, but insect bites and stings are relatively commonplace while we enjoy barbecues and family time outdoors. We should never discourage our little explorers from venturing outside, but it is essential that parents, and childcare centres and staff, know what to do if a sting or bite causes a nasty reaction.
Health Direct Australia warns that some children, and adults, can experience very severe reactions to particular bites or stings. This is called anaphylaxis, and if any of the associated symptoms occur then immediate medical attention must be sought. In most cases however, we can treat an insect bite or sting ourselves in order to alleviate mild pain, swelling, itching or discomfort.
Insect bites will usually leave a small puncture wound in the skin causing swelling, itching, bumps or blisters. Stings will also puncture the skin, but can sometimes leave the singer behind. Stings are usually associated with a more intense burning sensation and swelling/redness around the sting site, but the reaction to a bite or a sting will largely depend on which critter happens to be the culprit.
If a child is NOT having a severe reaction and anaphylaxis has been ruled out, then there are plenty of remedies we can administer to ease what can be a frightening experience for a little one… well anyone.
Bees have barbed stings, which may remain in the sting site. This kills the bee, but the singer should only be removed by scraping it away. Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and go to your chemist for painkiller sand/ or antihistamines.
Ants can inject their venom several times in close proximity and cause pain and swelling at the sting site(s). Your pharmacist may recommend age appropriate painkillers and/or antihistamines.
The bite is inflicted by the front fangs and can be painful. Painkillers from your pharmacist may help.
In Australia this can cause concern. Funnel web and red-back spiders are very dangerous and if you expect a bite from one of these you must seek medical attention immediately. It would be advisable to do this regardless if there is any persistent pain or swelling.
Ah yes, our favorite little stripy nightmares! Wasps do not die from stinging you, and can sting numerous times in a single attack. Although very painful, they are less prone to cause serious reactions. Remove any remnants of the wasp, if it was squashed, and use topical remedies, antihistamines or painkillers under the recommendation of your chemist. A wasp sting in the mouth or throat is far more serious – don’t leave fizzy drinks uncovered, but you already knew that!
Most active at night these little blighters will try to catch us anywhere. Insect repellents, nets, screen doors and appropriate clothing are great deterrents. Calamine lotion, ice (and trying not to scratch) will ease the symptoms.
With all of these bites and stings, please remember to seek medical attention if you suspect a more serious reaction in any situation, and remember to inform your childcare or early learning centre if your child has a known allergy – insect or otherwise.
And we won’t let the critters stop us enjoying our time outdoors!