As the flowers bloom, the pollen count rises, and the sun heats up, your kids will be spending more time in the great outdoors. At the same time, bugs of all sorts begin to multiply and get more active, too. Inevitably, one or more of them will find your child and decide to take a little nibble. Typically, insect bites are no cause for concern and are merely minor annoyances. But occasionally they can be more serious and require medical attention.

Dr. Ravneet Dhaliwal at Night Watch Pediatric Urgent Care helps parents in Manassas, Virginia, and the surrounding communities navigate the fascinating world of common insect bites. If you have kids, this information will come in handy this summer as the bugs come out and share their play space.

Bee stings

When a bee stings you, it leaves behind its stinger and a tiny little sac filled with its venom. If your child's been stung, remove the stinger as soon as possible without breaking that sac. Don’t use tweezers, as they can break the stinger and the sac. A good technique is to use the back of your fingernail or a credit card to carefully push the stinger out.

Once the stinger is removed, your child will still likely feel the pain of the incident. An ice pack or a cold, wet cloth can ease the itching, swelling, and discomfort, as can ibuprofen and cortisone cream.

When to see a doctor

If your child has been stung in the mouth, come in to see us right away. The same goes if you see a large rash.

If your child has the following symptoms, call 911:

  • Tight chest or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

If you know your child is allergic to bee stings, let us know so we can prescribe an epinephrine pen you can keep on hand.

Spider bites

Most spiders found here in the United States are not poisonous, but their bites can cause pain and itching. These symptoms are generally soothed by a cold compress, over-the-counter pain medications, and itch creams.

If your child is scratching a lot, use these products to reduce the pain and itching and an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

While most spiders here are harmless, there are two that can be dangerous. The black widow spider has a shiny, black body with a red hourglass shape on its belly. The brown recluse spider is small and brown with a violin shape on its back. Both like to hide in cool, dark places like woodpiles, under porches, in garages, and under playground equipment.

When to see a doctor

If your child has been bitten by one of these two venomous spiders, it’s best to have them seen right away, but it’s very urgent if your child has:

  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Changes in skin color
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches or cramps

If your child is in pain and you don’t know whether or not they need to be seen, just give us a call.

Tick bites

If you live near a wooded area, you may find a tick on your child now and then. Your pets are susceptible, too, so make sure you check your kids and your fur babies regularly after they’ve been outdoors.

Ticks are round flat insects that like to burrow. You’ll often find them with their mouth buried just beneath your skin with their body still out in plain view. Use tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin and carefully pull it out, making sure the whole head comes out. Then apply some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the site.

When to see the doctor

Ticks are known to carry Lyme disease, but it’s generally thought that this bacterial infection comes from tiny deer ticks, not the larger dog ticks. Left untreated, Lyme disease can affect the heart, brain, skin, and joints, so it’s important to seek treatment early.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Rash (may have a bullseye shape)
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Neck ache
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nerve issues (like sagging face, numbness)
  • Moodiness

We can treat Lyme disease best if we catch it early, so if you suspect your child is suffering from it, come in today.

Preventing bites and stings

You and your children can prevent most bites and stings by avoiding situations that generally lead to them. For instance, teach your kids to respect beehives and wasp nests — no poking.

Remove any mosquito-loving stagnant water from your yard.

Teach your kids about spiders’ favorite hiding places, so they can stay away.

In the woods, stick to the center of paths rather than running around in the foliage. Check your kids often for any hitchhiking ticks, especially in their hair. An all-over check at bathtime is a good idea, too.

If you’re concerned about a bite or sting, don’t hesitate to call us at 703-214-6564, walk in, or set up a telemedicine appointment. We’re happy to help you figure out what you’re dealing with and how to handle it.