Is My Child Allergic to Mosquito Bites?

Q: Mosquitoes seem to love my daughter. But the bites usually end up quite big and last a few days.

A: It is possible to have a mild allergic reaction to a mosquito’s saliva. Typically a small, itchy welt will get better in a few hours. But those highly sensitive can see symptoms last for several days. The welt can develop into the size of a quarter.

The best thing to do is encourage your child not to scratch the bite. Scratching can create an opening in the skin that could allow bacteria to enter and cause infection.

To relieve the itch:

Wash the area with soap and water.

  • Apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream.

  • Put an ice pack on the bite.

  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine.

Call your provider if a bite causes fever, vomiting, or shortness of breath.

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer fun! Take precautions to prevent future bites:

  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk and in the early evening.

  • Have your child wear long pants and long sleeves when possible.

  • Apply bug spray with DEET or picaridin to all exposed skin and clothing. Bug repellants with Deet are the most effective and are safe to use on children over 2 months of age.

  • Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed.

  • Use screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos out.

  • Wash off the repellent after coming indoors.

  • Take environmental precautions. Look for mosquito breeding grounds in still water around your house. Be sure your screens are intact. Use mosquito netting around strollers, beds.

  • Stay abreast of any reported transmittable infectious diseases in your area. Call your doctor if you are concerned your child may have one.

Today’s expert is: Timothy Houlihan, MD, ThedaCare Physicians-New London