For most people, a bee sting or an insect bite is harmless. But for a child with an allergy to insects, these things could be deadly. That is because children with allergies have a more sensitive immune system response than those who aren't allergic. They can experience shortness of breath, swelling, or even go into anaphylactic shock. Because of this, it is important to know the following four ways to combat an allergic reaction in a child if it happens.
Carry an Epinephrine Pen
Unfortunately, the high cost of an epinephrine pen often deters parents from buying one. But it is crucial that a child has this pen on hand at all times when they are prone to severe allergic reactions because it is the only thing that will stop the body's powerful immune system response. The dose of epinephrine has to be given immediately following a bite or sting, so teach them how to inject themselves with a practice pen. If you need help teaching your child, just ask one of the doctors at Oak Brook Allergists to assist you.
More mild allergic reactions can be treated with diphenhydramine. It takes about 30 minutes to take effect in the body though. So it should only be used if the child doesn't have any shortness of breath or trouble breathing. This over-the-counter medication is best for rashes and itching in a localized area.
Properly Treat the Bite or Sting
An allergic reaction can be reduced if the sting or bite is treated correctly. Always remove the stinger if it is left behind in the skin. Then, wash the area with soapy water to remove any venom or irritants. Treat the area with iodine to avoid an infection from occurring, but don't cover the wound with a bandage.
Head to the Hospital
It is best to take your child to a nearby hospital as soon as possible after an allergic reaction occurs. Doctors have a wide range of medications that they can give that are much stronger than those found in the store. And if a child doesn't get them in time, they could stop breathing.
And remember, prevention is the key. So be sure to only purchase unscented shampoos and soaps for your child because sweet smells attract insects. Also, have them dress in neutral colors when they go outside because many insects are attracted to bright shades. And don't forget to check their shoes and jacket before they put them on because some insects hide inside them.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. The information in this article is credited to Oak Brook Allergists.