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When a bug bite goes beyond itchy to become a problem

by Traci Schumacher on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 12:02pm

Living in South Georgia, we deal with a lot of bugs, from biting mosquitoes and sand gnats to benign yet annoying love bugs. In our family, my 7-year-old son and my husband are the biting bug magnets. We can all be outside together, and the two of them will end up with multiple bites while the rest of us may have just one or two. (They both have O+ blood type, which I read is one factor that attracts mosquitoes.)

My son can't resist the urge to scratch his bug bites, even to the point of making them bleed, leaving scars. I can hardly keep enough anti-itch medicine on them to prevent the scratching. It is an ongoing battle.

I find myself weighing the pros and cons of spraying my child with insect repellent every day compared with dealing with the bug bites. Usually I tend to reserve the bug spray for when the mosquitoes are especially bad. I just hate the thought of covering him with chemicals all the time.

Well, last week I had to take my son to the doctor because a bug bite had become infected. By the time my son showed it to me, the area around the bite was red and swollen, and pus oozed out. It was definitely not good. Sure enough, he required antibiotics and a prescription antibiotic cream to treat the bite.

So now I am rethinking our use of bug spray, as well as my son's communication skills (if only he had shown me the bite sooner!). Hopefully this can serve as a warning to other moms to keep an eye on those bug bites in order to prevent them from becoming infected. Maybe you can save yourself a trip to the doctor along with some money and stress.

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