Insects can cause serious allergic reactions in some children, and they can be painful and frightening for the child and parent. There are many kinds of insects that cause allergic reactions, but you can reduce some of the worry by teaching your child how to best protect themselves and what to do if a reaction occurs.
At the Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, allergy specialist Reinhard Kage, MD, diagnoses and helps patients manage an array of allergic conditions, including insect allergies.
Helping your child live with an insect allergy means taking preventive measures to reduce your child’s exposure. Here, we’ve put together some helpful information to best guide your child. When you need personalized care and guidance, be sure to schedule a visit with Dr. Kage.
Teach your child to look out for insect homes
When playing outside, children are often curious and enjoy investigating insect nests and mounds. To keep your child safe while playing outside, teach your child how to recognize nests and instruct them to clear out of the area if they spot a nest.
Once your child can recognize insect nests, you can feel confident that your child won’t unknowingly disturb the insects and risk having an allergic reaction.
Find lower-risk outdoor spaces
Insect mounts and nests are often found in trees and near shrubs and flower beds as well as wood piles and wet areas. Before allowing your child to play in an outdoor area, check for rotting wood, pipes, old tree stumps, and other areas that carry a higher risk for insects.
Show your child how to dress for protection
Children with insect allergies should avoid going barefoot outside or playing outside in open-toed shoes. Tell your child the importance of wearing socks and closed-toed shoes, along with long-sleeved shirts and long pants when playing in grassy areas.
Be careful with uncovered food and drinks
Insects are always on the hunt for food, which makes it easy to understand why people’s uncovered food and beverages attract them. When outdoors, teach your child to tightly seal their food or drinks to avoid attracting insects. Have them check the rim of a cup or bottle or the tip of a straw before taking a drink to ensure an insect hasn’t landed there.
Teach your child how to respond to an allergic reaction
Reactions to insect allergies in children range from mild rash to severe cases of anaphylaxis. If your child has a severe insect allergy, work with your doctor to train your child on using an epinephrine pen if your child has an allergic reaction.
Teach loved ones and other adults who help care for your child how to administer the epinephrine pen as well. Ensure your child always carries two epinephrine auto-injectors with them at all times.
If your child has a mild reaction to insects, such as itching or a rash, teach your child to move to a safe area if they have a reaction, to alert an adult, to wash the area with warm soap and water, and to wait for an adult to take it from there.
Dr. Kage can provide an individualized plan so you and your child know what to do if an allergic reaction occurs.
Help your child feel empowered to keep themselves safe outdoors. Children who learn about their allergy and feel self-sufficient have less fear and anxiety surrounding their allergy. For help managing your child’s insect allergy, call or book online to schedule a visit with Dr. Kage.