Children’s Summer Rashes and Insect Bites: What You Need to Know

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by Dr. Christopher Haines

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07.12.2022

Summertime is a time for fun in the sun, but it can also be a time for pesky insect bites and summer rashes. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common summer rashes in children as well as how to treat insect bites. Keep reading for more information!

Prickly Heat

kids health secrets prickly heat rash and how to help your kids if they get it

Summer rashes are fairly common in children. One of the most common summer rash is called prickly heat or miliaria. This rash appears as small, red bumps on the skin that can be itchy and uncomfortable. Prickly heat is caused by sweat that gets trapped under the skin and clogs the pores. The best way to prevent prickly heat is to keep your child’s skin cool and dry. If your child does develop a summer rash, you can treat it with over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.

Heat Rash

kids health secrets heat rash and how to help your kids if they get it

Heat rash is another common summer rash in kids. This rash is caused by sweating and usually appears on the neck, chest, and groin. Heat rash looks like red bumps or blisters. It can be itchy and uncomfortable, but it’s usually not serious. To treat heat rash, keep the affected area cool and dry. You can also apply a calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to help relieve the itchiness. If the rash doesn’t go away within a few days or if it starts to spread, contact your doctor.

Insect Bites

kids health secrets insect bites and how to help your kids if they get them

Insect bites are also common in summertime. Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas are all out in full force during the warmer months. Insect bites can cause redness, swelling, and itching. In some cases, they can also lead to more serious health problems like Lyme disease or West Nile virus. To prevent insect bites, make sure your child wears long sleeves and pants when outside. You should also apply insect repellent to exposed skin. If your child does get bitten by an insect, you can treat the bite with a cold compress or hydrocortisone cream.

Mosquito bites are the most common type of summer rash in kids. These bites are usually harmless and will go away on their own within a few days. However, they can be extremely itchy. To relieve the itch, you can apply a calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area. You can also give your child an antihistamine like Benadryl if the itch is severe. If the rash starts to spread or looks infected, contact your doctor right away.

Bee Stings

kids health secrets bee stings and how to help your kids if they get stung

Bee stings are another summer hazard. Bee stings can cause redness, swelling, and pain. In some cases, they can also lead to an allergic reaction. If your child is stung by a bee, remove the stinger as soon as possible. Then, wash the area with soap and water. Apply a cold compress or calamine lotion to help reduce the swelling. If your child is having trouble breathing or starts to swell up, call 911 immediately as this could be a sign of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

Fire Ants

kids health secrets protecting your kids against fire ant bites

Fire ants are a type of ant that is found in the southern United States. These ants can bite and sting, causing redness, swelling, and pain. In some cases, fire ant stings can also lead to an allergic reaction. If you or your child is bitten or stung by a fire ant, remove the stinger as soon as possible. Then, wash the area with soap and water. Apply a cold compress or calamine lotion to help reduce the swelling. If you or your child starts to swell up or have trouble breathing, call 911 immediately as this could be a sign of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

Lyme Disease

kids health secrets protecting your kids from lyme disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi that can be transmitted by ticks. Lyme disease is a year long problem but peaks in the spring and summer months. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease include the black legged deer tick (mid-atlantic, northeast and north central US) and the western black legged tick (west coast US).

The illness can cause a rash, fever, and fatigue. One of the most common symptoms is a ring shaped rash that looks like a bull’s eye or target (does not occur in every case). The rash can occur several days after the infection, last several weeks and can be large (up to 12 inches in diameter). If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems like joint pain and neurological problems.

To prevent Lyme disease, make sure your child wears long sleeves and pants when outside. You should also apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Also, it is very important to do tick checks when your child comes in from playing or being outside. This check should include all body surface areas including the scalp/hair. If you think your child may have Lyme disease, contact your doctor right away.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

kids health secrets rocky mountain spotted fever rash and how to help your kids if they get it

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious bacterial infection that can also be transmitted by ticks. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause a rash, fever, and headache and most commonly occurs between the months of April and September with most cases in the mid-atlantic and southeastern US. The symptoms include a rash that typically starts on day 3 of illness (starts ankles and wrists and moves towards the trunk), fever headache, sore throat, stomach pain/nausea/vomiting, light sensitivity and body aches. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems like kidney failure or death.

To prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever, make sure your child wears long sleeves and pants when outside. You should also apply insect repellent to exposed skin. If you think your child may have Rocky Mountain spotted fever, contact your doctor right away.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is a rare but serious viral infection (a flavivirus that is commonly found in West Africa, West Asia, Middle East and Europe) that can be transmitted by mosquitoes. West Nile virus causes a rash, fever, and headache. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems like encephalitis or meningitis. To prevent West Nile virus, make sure your child wears long sleeves and pants when outside. You should also apply insect repellent to exposed skin. If you think your child may have West Nile virus, contact your doctor right away.

Plant Dermatitis

kids health secrets protecting your children from poisonous plants

Other summer rashes include poison ivy, oak, and sumac. These rashes are caused by contact with poisonous plants. They can cause redness, swelling, and blistering. If your child comes into contact with a poisonous plant, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. You should also remove any clothing or jewelry that may have come into contact with the plant. If the rash is severe, contact your doctor.

The rash spreads by the oil in the plant coming into contact with the skin. So, it’s important to avoid touching the rash or breaking any blisters. Additionally the oils can get under the finger nails so it is important to keeps your child’s nails short and clean vigorously with soap and water under the nails if you think they have been exposed to poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

Swimmer’s Itch

Swimmer’s itch (also called cercarial dermatitis) is a rash caused by contact with water that contains a small parasite that gets into our skin by accident. This parasite gets into lakes (present in all US lakes but most commonly in the Michigan and Great Lakes area) from bird droppings. It can cause redness, swelling, and itching within 2 hours of swimming in a fresh water lake (and rarely salt water). The rash looks small red dots that turn into red lumps that are very itchy fading away over a 1-2 week period.

To prevent swimmer’s itch, avoid swimming in stagnant water. If you or your child does come into contact with contaminated water, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. Treatment is supportive as the rash is harmless and self-limited without treatment. However, symptoms can treated with the application of calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area to help relieve the itching.

Cutaneous Larva Migrans

kids health secrets Cutaneous Larva Migrans

Cutaneous larva migrans is a rash caused by contact with contaminated soil that contains the hookworm parasite (also called sandworms). It can cause a rash that is red, very itchy and raised. Additionally the rash may look like twirling. To prevent cutaneous larva migrans, avoid walking barefoot in contaminated soil. If you or your child does come into contact with contaminated soil, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. You can also apply a calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area to help relieve the itching. If you think your child has cutaneous larva migrans, call your child’s doctor to be evaluated.

Hot Tub Folliculitis

kids health secrets hot tub folliculitis

Hot tub folliculitis is a rash caused by contact with contaminated water. The water is most commonly contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (commonly found in areas with hot tubs, water slides, whirlpools. The bacteria cause infection of this skin at the base of hair follicles resulting redness, swelling, and itching. To prevent hot tub folliculitis, avoid using hot tubs or swimming pools that are not properly chlorinated.

If you or your child does come into contact with contaminated water, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. Supportive care includes giving your child Benadryl, application of calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area to help relieve the itching. If you suspect hot tub folliculitis, you should call your child’s pediatrician as this can be caused by a bacterial infection and may be treated with antibiotics.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are another type of summer rash that can be caused by contaminated water. Bacterial infections can cause redness, swelling, and blistering. To prevent bacterial infections, avoid swimming in stagnant water. If you or your child does come into contact with contaminated water, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. You should also apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the affected area to help prevent infection.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are another type of summer rash that can be caused by contaminated water. Fungal infections can cause redness, swelling, and itching. To prevent fungal infections, avoid swimming in stagnant water. If you or your child does come into contact with contaminated water, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. You should also apply an antifungal cream to the affected area to help prevent infection.

Juvenile Plantar Dermatosis

This rash is also caused by sweat and usually appears on the soles of the feet. It can be itchy and uncomfortable, but it’s usually not serious. To treat this summer rash, keep the affected area clean and dry. You can also apply a topical antifungal cream to the rash. If the rash doesn’t go away within a few days or if it starts to spread, contact your doctor.

Prevention

There are a few things you can do to prevent summer rashes and insect bites. First, keep your child’s skin cool and dry. Second, apply insect repellent to exposed skin. There are a variety of summer rashes and insect bites that can affect your child. By taking some simple precautions, you can help prevent these problems. If your child does develop a summer rash or insect bite, there are many over-the-counter treatments that can help relieve the symptoms. However, if the rash is severe or spreading, contact your doctor right away. With some simple treatment, summer rashes and insect bites can be a thing of the past!

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The information in this blog is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general information purposes and is the opinion of staff at Blue Emerald Wellness. Please do not delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you read in this blog.

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