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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My 4-year-old son reacts to mosquito bites with redness and swelling by the next morning (if he is bit at night). Any suggestions?
    

When a mosquito bites, it injects its saliva into us. This triggers an allergic reaction causing the bite to swell and be itchy. When children scratch the itching bite, the reaction gets worse. Many young children have extraordinary large reactions to ordinary mosquito bites. The bites swell, become reddened and hard, perhaps the size of a silver dollar. The skin around the bite may become bright red and the bite itself may ooze a clear yellow fluid. Uncontrolled scratching may cause the bite to become infected. Keep in mind that hands and feet, as well as the face, tend to swell dramatically in response to any bite or sting.

The best treatment once a child is bitten by a mosquito is:

  • A mild over the counter steroid cream (Hydrocortisone 1%) used four times a day on new bites .
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) is for itching and swelling , Check with your doctor's office for the correct dose for your child. A new antihistamine, Zyrtec®, is available by prescription and is very effective without sedating the child.
  • There are topical anti-itching gels and lotions that contain pramoxine and other substances for use after the bites occur. They are safe and fairly effective. The simplest anti-itching compound is a paste made of baking soda and water. Use just enough water to make a sticky paste, and spread it on.
  • If you suspect the bite is infected, infection, use an antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin® or Bactracin®
  • Cool compresses in the form of an ice pack wrapped in a towel and applied durectly to the bite.
  • For inflammation, ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) can reduce redness, pain, itching, swelling and fever.
  • Check with your doctor to see how he or she feels about natural anti-inflammatory remedies such as evening primrose oil or papaverine.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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