baby girl pointing to an insect bite

That itches! Treating insect bites

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Insect bites usually cause an immediate reaction that makes your skin itch. This occurs when the insect bites the skin and sucks a little blood from the body. The insects that can bite us include mosquitoes, fleas and bedbugs. The mosquito bite causes a small red swelling in the affected area. Fleas and bedbugs can cause inflammation or even a blister in sensitive children. Now, the good news is that these insect bites can be treated at home. Below are various treatments you can apply.


Home Treatment

  • Apply a mix of baking powder with water or calamine lotion on the swollen area.
  • If it is a bedbug bite and it causes severe itching, ask your doctor whether you can apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (sold without prescription).
  • Encourage your child not to scratch by distracting her; scratching can hurt the skin and make it more prone to infection.

Bite Prevention

  • Apply insect repellent moderately on exposed skin or on clothing when going out.
  • Be sure to use a repellent containing 30% DEET or less if you’re applying directly on the skin. This type of repellent has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be used on children who are at least 2 months of age.
  • Try not to apply it on her hands if she sucks her thumb.
  • Only apply repellent on exposed skin, but don’t apply it near her eyes or mouth.
  • Don’t apply repellent on skin rashes or burns.
  • If you have pets, be sure they don’t have fleas.

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