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Mom's Talk Q&A: Dealing with Bug Bites

Knowing when to call the doctor.

It's the season for bug bites. We get so many mosquito bites and fly bites after a while we stop paying attention. So when do you know it is a regular harmless, though itchy, bug bite and when to call in the doctor?

Rebecca says:

I usually don't call the doctor over any routine illness. When my kids have fevers, coughs, and sore throats I usually wait it out and try more holistic type of healing methods over modern day medicine. I am lucky to have such healthy children.

When it comes to rashes though I know there are so many kinds and some are symptoms of more serious illnesses so I usually call the doctor about rashes that last more than a day unless I know it's prickly heat, hives, or poison ivy.

When it comes to bug bites I learned my lesson 16 years ago. I was walking through Sachuest Point in Middletown with my one-year-old niece on my shoulders. She was up there for a while as we walked through the wildlife refuge. Upon leaving I took her down off my shoulders and saw that a huge mosquito bite had swollen to the size of her fist right above her eye on her forehead. I was young myself and not a mother yet so I freaked out and rushed her to the ER at the Newport Hospital. They put me on the phone with the pediatrician who is now my children's pediatrician and I told him she was allergic like my sister.

I felt like a fool when he calmly asked, "what makes you say they are allergic?" and I replied, "they swell ten times the size of a normal mosquito bite!"

He began to ask more serious questions about her breathing and so forth to which I realized she wasn't having a serious allergic reaction because her bug bite was a little swollen.

Since then I have never called the doctor for a bug bite, and I haven't had to. Unless there are specific markings like rings, puss oozing, or discolorations and there are no other symptoms that affect breathing or fevers indicating serious illnesses I wouldn't recommend calling the doctor. 

Use a hydrocortizone cream sparingly on the localized area and you may want to try Benedryl or a generic allergy medication to take orally. If symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, or the infected area changes shape, color or size then I would call the doctor right away.

Cindy says: 

We have gotten so many bug bites this summer. I guess it is the one downer of the season. If you get a bug bite that isn't the normal run of the mill bite that itches and then goes away within a day or two then you might want to think about calling the doctor. Especially if one is bigger than normal, or swells up red or puffy, it could be a spider bite.

Then there is the dreaded tick bite that if you see a bullet ring around a bite mark, then you should immediately go to the doctor.
Most times it will just be a regular mosquito, gnat bite or even the terrible green fly bite that you have to deal with.

I use witch hazel on my kids bites , it doesn't sting as bad as alcohol.

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