Here comes the sunshine, and sometimes swarms of bugs. If you’re planning a staycation during the summer holidays or heading to hotter climes, chances are, you’ll be sharing your favourite outdoor spot with an irritating pest.
Whether it’s a wasp that loves the bed of bright yellow flowers as much as your toddler, the midges who’ve gatecrashed your picnic or the mosquito breeding by the paddling pool, prevention is better than a cure.
So, stay calm and slowly move the kids away from wasps, bees and other stingy bugs. Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, try to encourage them to keep their sandals on, avoid sun protection with fragrance and be careful around flowering plants and stagnant water.
But just in case nature takes its natural course and your littl’un gets stung while they’re playing or eating, here’s how to treat that red, swollen lump and wipe the tears away…
To treat an insect bite or sting, the sting or tick needs to be removed. If it’s a bee, remove the stinger if it’s lodged in the skin and wash the affected area with soap and water. It is recommended to apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
If they’ve been stung on their foot, leg or hand, raise or elevate the affected area if possible to reduce swelling. Peppermint oil can help to relieve pain and swelling. Just make sure to dilute it first, and a spritz solution can also be used to ward off insects (mix two to three drops to 30ml water). Smells good, too.
Likewise, lavender essential oil can help to ease the pain and unlike most other essential oils, can be applied direct to bites (including mild spider bites). It’s a must for first aid kits.
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Scratching can make the condition worse, so make sure you say: “Don’t scratch,” and to reduce the risk of infection, keep their fingers clean.
If symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days or get worse, contact your GP or seek medical advice.
How to help them recover
To make sure they stay safe, and not scared, teach them about the world of insects. Some of the most popular kiddie attractions are butterfly houses and indoor tropical rainforests, so it’s worth having a bug and insect book to hand, so they can learn about the world we live in.
Most children have a short attention span, which in the case of a sting or bite, is a good thing. Kiss them better, give them a hug, and encourage them to play with their favourite cuddly toy or game, to take their mind off the itch.
Make it fun. Colourful plasters, Disney characters and even wildlife designs will leave them feeling brave, and like it’s all part of their summer outdoor adventure.
Let them do something you wouldn’t normally. Whether it’s a sweet treat, playing with your mobile phone, being allowed to stay up later than usual or doing something ‘grown-up’ because they’ve been ‘brave’ will make them feel much, much better. At least until the next scrape.
- Press Association