Baby Bites and Stings

‘Ouch!’ We all know how every bite and sting hurts as immediately as it happens, so when it’s happening to your little one, it can seem like you too feel their pain. Different treatments are required for different ailments, so don’t be running to grab the same remedy for all. There are a number of things that can cause bites and stings, such as wasps, bees, hornets, midges and fleas. Some of these insect stings have no lasting effect, so once the initial pain has subsided, your baby should not continue to suffer.

Signs and Treatment of a Sting

The most common signs of a bee, wasp or hornet sting is a squealing baby; an area of skin will be in a swollen lump and redness around the sting. Sometimes you may find the sting has been left behind in your little ones skin and will need removal. The best way to do this is to squeeze or scrape it out the same way it went in, as trying to pull it out can cause more of the insect’s venom to get into the sting area.

Old wives tales will recommend using common household items to relieve these stings; soap for a bee sting and vinegar for a wasp sting. It’s up to you if you wish to use these, however these days most experts recommend washing with soap and water to avoid infection, applying a cold compress and giving your baby some infant paracetamol. If the sting is still upsetting the little one, try a bite and sting cream from your local pharmacists, checking with them you have the correct cream for the type of sting. After time, the sting mark will begin to fade and the swelling should disappear.

How to Treat a Bite

Midge and flea bites are itchy and aggravating. The more you scratch, the more they itch. So for a baby who doesn’t understand, it must be terribly frustrating. The best remedy for a common insect bite is again, a cold compress and paracetamol, followed by some cream from your local pharmacist and try to help you little one avoid scratching the affected area.

Consulting a Doctor

If you feel your little one has been bitten or sting by something more unusual and you are concerned about it or their reaction, contact your GP. There is never a wrong time to contact your doctor when you are concerned. Occasionally, due to your little one scratching and picking at their bite or sting, infection can set in. If this happens contact your GP for advice on how to go forward with treatment. Try to keep it as clean as possible and keep baby’s hands clean also. Very rarely, some babies may be allergic to the bite or sting and may go into anaphylactic shock. If this happens, your child may have swelling or difficulty breathing. If you suspect an allergic reaction take your little one directly to your nearest Accident and Emergency or call an ambulance.

Most of the time a bite or sting will be forgotten in a few minutes. They may cause occasional irritation for a day or two after, but cleaning and treating with cream will usually do the trick. Give your little one a big kiss and cuddle and then get on with your day. If you aren’t happy that it’s a simple bite or sting, always contact your GP, they won’t mind reassuring you or taking a look at your little one.

The HSE has some useful information about Bites and Stings