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Health Issues

Identifying Insect Bites and Stings


Mosquitoes are generally found near water (pools, lakes, birdbaths) and are attracted by bright colors and sweat. Bites result in stinging sensation followed by a small, red, itchy mound with a tiny puncture mark at the center.


Usually found near or around food, garbage, and animal waste. Painful, itchy bumps that may turn into small blisters are characteristic of bites. These bites often disappear in a day but may last longer.


Flea bites are usually identified by the presence of multiple small bumps clustered together, –often where clothes fit tightly (waist, buttocks). Fleas are commonly found in floors, rugs, and are mostly likely to be problematic in homes with pets.


Bedbugs are usually found in cracks in walls or floors, crevices of furniture and bedding. Bedbug bites are characterized by itchy red bumps (which are occasionally topped by a blister) usually 2–3 in a row. Bites are more likely to occur at night. Bedbugs are less active in cold weather.

Fire Ants

Immediate pain and burning sensation is frequently experienced after a bite followed by swelling (up to ½ inch) and cloudy fluid in area of bite. Fire ants usually attack intruders and are commonly found in pastures, meadows, lawns and parks in southern states.

Bees and Wasps

These winged insects are usually found near flowers, shrubs, picnic areas, or beaches. Immediate pain and rapid swelling occur following a sting. A few children have severe reactions, –such as difficulty breathing and hives/swelling all over their body.


Ticks are found in wooded areas. They may be unnoticeably hidden on hair or on skin. When attempting to remove a tick do not use matches, lit cigarettes, or nail polish remover. Grasp the tick near the head with tweezers, and gently pull the tick straight out.

Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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