Insect stings can happen anywhere on the body and can be painful and frightening for a child. Most insect stings cause only minor discomfort. Most stings are from honeybees or yellow jackets, also called ground hornets.
Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets can sting a child. Yellow jackets cause the most allergic reactions in the U.S. Fire ants can also sting a child. These ants are usually found in Southern states.
The following are the most common symptoms of insect stings.
Local skin reactions include:
Symptoms can affect the whole body. These symptoms may mean your child has a more serious allergic reaction. This type of reaction may be life threatening. See the treatment section for what to do in such an emergency. Symptoms include:
Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child. He or she will check for a stinger and for signs of an allergic reaction.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Reactions are usually not serious. But they can be life threatening if the sting occurs in the mouth, nose, or throat area. This is because swelling can close off the airway.
Treatment for local reactions includes:
To help reduce the itching, consider the following:
Call 911 and seek emergency care right away if your child is stung in the mouth, nose, or throat area, or if your child has signs of a serious allergic reaction.
Emergency medical treatment may include:
The two greatest complications from insect stings are allergic reaction and infection. An allergic reaction can cause death if the reaction is serious enough and your child does not get medical care right away.
The following are general guidelines to help reduce the chances of insect stings. Outdoors, your child should:
If your child has a known or suspected allergy to stings, follow these tips:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: