Most insect bites and stings are a minor, temporary annoyance. But sometimes, that little red bump on your child’s skin is actually a red flag.
Zero In on Ticks
A tick bite is a red bump that may expand to a ring or bull’s-eye. Any tick bite is worrisome because some ticks transmit dangerous diseases.
“Missouri is a hot bed of tick-related illnesses,” says Ericka Hayes, MD, a Washington University pediatric infectious disease specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “These illnesses can cause high fever, and in severe cases, they can even be fatal.”
Tiny Bug, Big Itch
Chigger bites appear in clusters of very itchy, small red bumps that grow to resemble a rash. While chiggers do not transmit disease, scratching the bites can lead to infection.
Mosquito bites are very itchy red or pink bumps. Very rarely, mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus, so watch for flu-like symptoms, fever or rash within the two weeks following a bite.
Stings from wasps, yellow jackets or bees cause sharp pain that typically subsides to a dull ache within one to two hours and then leaves a red bump with white around the site of the sting.
When to See a Doctor
Symptoms including hives, facial swelling, difficulty swallowing or breathing problems after an insect bite may mean your child is having an allergic reaction, so seek medical help immediately when this happens. If the bite grows more painful, red or swollen after the first 48 hours, it may be infected. If a fever, rash or flu-like symptoms appear in the 30 days following a bite, it may be a tick- or mosquito-related illness. See your physician as soon as possible.