For most kids, these are simple stings/bites and can be soothed with cold packs applied to the area for 10 minutes once an hour until the swelling, itching and pain have subsided. Don’t put ice cold packs directly on the skin. 

Bee stings. For some kids, the area around the sting will swell considerably, such as an entire hand or foot, possibly extending up part of the arm or leg. Give a dose of diphenhyrdamine (Search “Benadryl” on for dosing for all ages) and continue to cool the area. Facial swelling may also occur and diphenhydramine should help. If swelling continues to worsen despite these treatments, call us for an appointment — prescription steroids may help. 

Anaphylaxis is rare. Signs include difficulty breathing or throat closing, and may possibly include fainting and vomiting. Call 911, and use an epinephrine injection if you have access to one according to your doctor’s advice. 

Should you get an epinephrine prescription if you’ve had some swelling after a bee sting? In general, no. We don’t prescribe these over the phone. We can discuss this at your next appointment.  

Spider and insect bites. You don’t really need to distinguish what exactly caused the bite. The initial treatment is the same as above for bee stings. After about 48 hours, if redness and pain persist, switch over to warm soaking for 20 minutes every hour to reduce infection. You can also mix epsom salt into the warm soaking water twice daily. If the bite is open, apply antibiotics twice daily after a soak. If the infected skin continues to worsen and spread, call us for an appointment (might need antibiotics). 

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