You know those pesky mosquito bites that itch you and your kids? Well, a couple of my li’l ones are covered in them and scratching them until they scab! In fact, one of my kids recently had an infected bite from bacteria entering the bite while scratching! Breezy Mama just had to turn to dermatologist Dr. Vi, Co-founder of Comprehensive Dermatology, to get the scoop on how to stop the itch (and avoid infection as a result!) and dealing with other bug bites, too!
My kids are covered in mosquito bites! To top it off, they scratch them until they are scabs and then one even got infected! How can I get them to stop scratching/ how can I help stop mosquito bites that itch?
This is a very common problem with bug bites. The bites can be so itchy that people will basically scratch them until they finally tear the skin off and the skin starts to scab. The problem with this is that the open skin can get infected.
It helps to use a bland anti-itch product to stop the itch. I really like a product called TriCalm. This is an over the counter anti-itch gel. It does not contain a steroid. You do not want to use it on open skin since it can sting, so try to apply it on the bite before you start to scratch.
I also like several other anti-itch products such as calamine lotion or sarna. If the bite is pretty bad, I will use a topical steroid such as hydrocortisone.
Also, try to apply a cool compress to help with the itch.
I do not like to use topical benadryl or topical Neosporin since they can cause an allergic reaction, making it even more itchy. If the bites are super itchy, you can take benadryl pills/liquid. But remember that it can cause drowsiness.
Does it help with other bug bites, such as spider bites?
Yes. The treatment for most bug bites is the same. Of course, if you have a bite from a serious spider such as a brown recluse or a black widow, you should see the doctor immediately.
A lot of times, the kids seem to get bitten while sleeping! I feel like putting an anti-mosquito spray, such as “Off”, every night at bed time seems drastic – do you recommend doing so?
I really do not recommend applying anything on the kids every night. Mosquitoes are really a problem in the outdoors. Just make sure that the kids are sleeping in a screened in area, or are indoors. Shut any windows that are not screened. If they are outside, or they are still getting mosquito bites inside, use a mosquito net.
Why are some kids more prone to get bites than others?
This is a very interesting question and one that researchers are actively working on. Basically, some people are just “juicier.” Well, they are more attractive to mosquitoes. People emit different types of chemicals called odorants that are attractive to mosquitoes. At this time, we think that the odorants include carbon dioxide on the breath, body temperature, alcohol, pregnancy, and blood type.
Any other summertime reminders for parents?
If the bites are really bad (meaning that they hurt, have spreading redness or streaks of redness, or are associated with any shortness or breath, fever, or you just do not feel well), make sure to see the doctor right away.
And you know me… I will take any opportunity to promote sun safety. Remember to wear clothing, a hat, and stay in the shade. Use sunscreen regularly.
Vishakha Gigler, M.D. is a board certified dermatologist and Co-founder of Comprehensive Dermatology. She enjoys practicing medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology, including Mohs micrographic surgery. Dr. Gigler was recognized as a “top doctor” by her colleagues in 2007 -2012 in San Diego Magazine. She prides herself in delivering the highest level of medical care. For more information, visit www.comprehensivederm.com