31 answers

What Kind of Bite?

So, my son is now 21 months old. and LOVES the outdoors. the sitter is great about taking the kids out about every day (unless it's raining) and he is thriving and healthy. one of their favorite outdoor activities is playing in the sprinkler, however, we think that the water is washing off the bug repellant, because he has gotten three pretty nasty bites in the last few weeks. one on his arm, one on his leg, and the most recent on his ear. they swell up HUGE, about the size of a quarter or bigger, and they get a small head of puss in the middle. his poor ear swelled up SO bad, he looked like a lopsided dumbo! he doesn't act like they hurt, but he has scratched them which makes them look even worse. it's not a constant scratching, just the once for the most part, then he mostly leaves it alone. he is young so i don't know if he is just super-sensitive (he does have eczema but no allergies that we know of), a mosquito bite gone wild, or if it's something more serious - the other daycare kids, as well as my sitter's kids, don't get these giant welts so i assume whatever it is, they're not having the reaction he is. my question is does anyone have any experience in this? what else can i do other than make sure the sitter puts on bug repellant (and i can't make him stay out of the water, he loves it TOOO much!) and put neosporin on it once he gets one? is it something he will grow out of? any words of wisdom, as always, are appreciated. thanks!

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Hi C.- I watch my 2 yo nephew and he reacts the same way to bug bites. I spray him with Off and he still seems to end up with huge swollen welts especially on his ankles and ears. It is so sad. My sister called the doctor and they suggested putting Cortisone cream on the bites and giving him Benadryl. Good Luck!

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I haven't read the other responses but Emme reacts worse to bug bites than the normal person. She got one between her temple and eye last year that made her eye swell shut. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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Hi C., I can't really offer much advice, but when I get bit, my bug bites (mostly mosquito) swell up really big like that too. It looks sort of gruesome, but it isn't any worse than a "regular" bite. I'm the only one in my family that this happens to, so I would guess that is all that's happening.

I think Bull Frog may make a sunscreen/bug spray that you could look into, I know that brand is fairly good at not coming off without a fight!

Good luck!

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Hi C.- I watch my 2 yo nephew and he reacts the same way to bug bites. I spray him with Off and he still seems to end up with huge swollen welts especially on his ankles and ears. It is so sad. My sister called the doctor and they suggested putting Cortisone cream on the bites and giving him Benadryl. Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Poor little guy! I know how you feel. My daughter, who is now nearly 9, used to be the same exact way. Any mosquito bite she got, it would swell up like a huge welt, turn bright red, be hot to the touch(!), have a little puss in the middle of the bite, and eventually turn blueish like a bruise. It seriously looked like she was beaten a few times! Just awful. :-( This unfortunately lasted for a long time through her toddlerhood. Now, her bites are not quite as bad since she is older. I think it was due in part to her sensitve skin and the reaction from bites. Since your son already has sensitive skin, it might be a factor. They do make some repellents that are water proof, but I think the sitter will just have to put it on regularly while he is outside and then perhaps give a bath once he's finally done with outside play (to wash off any harmful chemicals). I hated putting it on, but figured washing it off later was better than getting the horrible bites to begin with. One other thing...do you have pets or do your neighbors? When our daughter was very little (8 mos-2years) , she attended a super daycare, however had some very serious bites one time. The had the same appearance. We took her to the pediatrician because they were so awful looking and they found out they were fleas! Uggg. We do not have pets, nor did at the time, but they were in the yard of the daycare so eventually they did a big time spraying of the property. Okay, sorry for the long post....best of luck to you and your little guy!

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Im a grandma , but my son use to swell up horribly from misquito bites like egg size, but they never head a head on them sounds more like a spider bite sounds like your handling it right for now do ya know that they make benadryl for kids it for allergic reactions

Hope this helps
Grandma G.

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I haven't read the other responses but Emme reacts worse to bug bites than the normal person. She got one between her temple and eye last year that made her eye swell shut. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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When I was younger and I got bit by mosquitos they swelled up bigtime. I found some home remedies that may help the itch.


Hope they help your little guy

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Hi C., I can't really offer much advice, but when I get bit, my bug bites (mostly mosquito) swell up really big like that too. It looks sort of gruesome, but it isn't any worse than a "regular" bite. I'm the only one in my family that this happens to, so I would guess that is all that's happening.

I think Bull Frog may make a sunscreen/bug spray that you could look into, I know that brand is fairly good at not coming off without a fight!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm allergic to ant bites (and other bites) and I used to get the puss filled centers and swelled up like a balloon when I was bit by an ant (still do really). It is possible that the bites are from ants. I know you are thinking how did he get one on his ear. Well, ants can live in water and it's possible that he either rolled around in the grass or the ant was flung up in the water and landed on his head. You never know.

As for the itching, put some Benedryl gel or some sort of anithistamine on it. Give him an oral antihistamine and the swelling should go down. It sounds as though he is having an allergic reaction to the bite.

Have the sitter reapply the bug spray after the water activity. That will prevent more bites when he is outside playing. Good Luck and God Bless.

Good Morning C., it is probably those pesky mosquito's that is getting him. I use the After bite dabber on one of our 3 y/o gr son's. It doesn't sting or anything and seems to keep the swelling to a minium. He swells like your little one does also. They do make a sunscteen with repellant in it also that stays on longer in water. It's in my car right now or I would tell you the brand name.. ;)

He should out grow it soon also. With senitive skin it just seems to be larger then normal. Personally I love the little dumbo ears :) Adorable

God Bless
K. nana of 5

Sounds like the same type of allergic reaction to the bites that my daughter had until she turned four. My husband also apparently reacted like that as a small child to normal mosquito bites. On my daughter they would swell up very badly, she had a bite on her cheek and looked like she had been punched in the face/eye. We used hydorcortisone cream for the itch/pain, and deet products to try to stop the bites. She grew out of it and now at 4.5 has normal reactions to bites.

Possibly chiggers! My son and I also have the same reaction to them when no one else in the family is bothered by them. Anti-itch cream is the only relief which is hard with my son's eczema. I usually get an outrageous number of them while he gets only a few thank goodness. My husband came home for r&r from Iraq and got about 10 bites and was miserable, he scratched constantly. They do make bug sprays especially for chiggers but you must read the directions carefully. Also, the grass must stay very short since they thrive in the shade of grass taller than a couple of inches, you can also buy chigger spray for the yard. Check with your doctor to confirm and then treat your son and the yard.

Good luck,

Has the sitter treated her yard for insects? This may help some. My husband get mosquito bites and they swell up pretty bad as well. My daughters get super itchy but dont swell up to bad. We put clear fingernail polish on them and they usually go away in about 24 hours. Have your sitter get some Citronella plants to put outside, they will naturally repell away the mosquitos if that is what is biting him. They are usually available at garden centers. Not sure where you are located but try Family Tree Nursery or Suburban. Some people react differently to bites. The main thing is to make sure he does not get them infected by scratching them.
Another thing you may want to try using as a repellant is AVON Skin So Soft. It is oil based and may not wash off as quickly, it is also DEET free. I hope you find some relief for you little guy soon! E.

Hi C.,
When my youngest son gets bit by mosquitos his turns into welps/nots and he doesn't even scratch it. They just turn into these nots in a matter of hours. This doesn't happen to his older brother. Took my son to the dr and she said that he just has really sensitive skin. She recommended putting skin so soft on him. You can get this through Avon and actually I think that Wal-Mart has started to carry something similar to it. Good luck.

want to see other replies.

I'm not a health care provider, but I suffer from insect bites no one else in my house experiences, so I can relate to your son.

When I was young, mosquito bites swelled up, broke, got infected etc. When I was a camp, the nurse would but iodine on each one. They really didn't bother me much, but it freaked adults out.

Over time, I reacted less and less to mosquito bites. Now they will swell for a few hours, barely itch and then subside.

Flea bites, on the other hand still itch like crazy and NO ONE else in the house gets them at all. We don't even have a dog! I can pick them up from anywhere.

Since your son's reaction is different, the insect causing the bite could be a couple of things. My GUESS would be mosquitos. Since they don't bother him to much, I wouldn't be too worried about them. You may want to ask at your next dr visit just to be sure.

I use a clear Benedryl lotion for my bites and it works well for ME. I used to use a clear gel called Rhuligel, but I can't always find it. You may want to try a few things. I would want to control the itch to reduce the bites that open and then possible get an infection.

Also, watch out for flu like syptoms which may be West Nile virus.

Hi! don't know what kind of bite it is but I have a few suggestions on bug repellant. Try Bullfrog Brand. Its a sunblock also which is very important. But It is sweatproof and water proof. I also have heard Skin so Soft from avon is very good.
Try it and let me know if it works.
Good luck!

My son has always been allergic to mosquito bites, he is 7 now and seems to be outgrowing it. Give him Benedryll allergy and it will start getting better, also cool compressed on the area help.
When my son was 1 year old we moved to a different state and he was bit in the eyebrow and it swelled up so huge we took him to the ER because Benedryll wasn't doing the job. They tried to get CPS down on us because they said that a mosquito couldn't do that, that we had HIT him. I was in tears afraid my baby was going to be taken away over other people's stupidity. Luckily one of the nurses stepped in and said that her daughter was allergic to mosquito's and recommended us to her pediatrician and very reluctantly the ER staff let us leave. The pediatrician told me I wasn't giving him a large enough dosage of Benedryll, gave him a cortozone shot and sent us home. Within a few days he was looking normal except for some slight bruising from the swelling. My 5yo hasn't shown any sign of being allergic to the bites but my sister in laws four children were all allergic but have outgrown it.

He's seriously allergic to the mosquito saliva that gets injected into the skin for the anticoagulant, (keeps the blood from clotting so they can suck it out). I have the same problem, since childhood. To my knowlege there isn't anything that can be done other than use the Benadryl, and try to keep from getting bit. DO not let him scratch if you can help it, because of the danger of secondary infections. I've used several different products like a Benedryl cream, also a topical spray, for the itching. It's amazing how big those little bitty bites can swell , isn't it?
I'd try triple antibiotic ointment instead of Neosporin, because in some people Neosporin can cause skin reactions almost as severe as the original bite. Sorry your little guy has to go through this.

Hi I am in my 60's and that still happens to me and I have been told it is an allergy to what they put in us to help remove the blood and I use the bite pens to rub over them as soon as I get one and if several I take an antihistimine which usually helps to take down the swelling, then there are creams especially for itching that can help. The important thing is to watch other bites as I am also allergic to flys and bees bitting me. Had a doctor tell me that people who are allergic to these bites also but off a scent that attracts them. A home remidy I have found is eatting alot of garlic or taking the pills have helped alittle. Good luck with your son.

Hi C.,

I took my 3 yr old to the pediatrician recently for a very similar situation (she also plays in the water almost daily at the babysitters). She had a bite swell up to the size of a half dollar on her leg and I didn't know what it was. Turned out to just be a bad reaction to a mesquito bite, and the Dr. had me give her Benadryl for a few days and put Hydrocortisone on the bite to help with the itching. However, hers didn't have puss in the middle like you're describing. My pediatrician showed me some pictures of other types of bites, such as spider bites, etc. so that I would know what to look for next time. One of the things to look for is pussiness and a yellowish color she said, so you may want to have his bites looked at to be sure it's nothing more serious than mesquito bites, plus then you'll know what to look for in the future. Good luck.

My brother, and now his two sons, have had reactions to mosquito bites like this. my brother, and I think his older son have both outgrown it. I would suggest getting a benadryl ointment, or there's a benadryl bite stick at any drugstore, that works wonders on bug bites. If you apply that as soon as a bite is noticed I would guess it would help stop the reaction. Good luck

I have 6 kids, and only one gets the kind of reaction to mosquitos that you are describing....I am fairly naturla when it comes to healthcare, and I have found that the BEST thing to do is a couple times a day for a couple days is just wipe the bite down with plain white vinegar....It will stop the itching, and will help the swelling go down very fast....I hope that helps.

SAHM of 6, #7 due in Oct

Hi C.,
My son swells up as well and from the time of the first thaw to the next freeze he is outside. The bite sticks work but as I mentioned to another mom, my son's doctor told me not to mix the oral benadryl with the topical gel or bite sticks in such a young child. Pick one or the other. You can use calamine lotion with the oral benadryl to reduce the itching but always check with your childs doctor. Also my mother in law found a sunscreen and bug repellant all in one that I believe is waterproof. It is called bull frog. You might want to make sure it does not have too much deet. Maybe your sitter could reapply after he plays in the sprinklers. There is also a natural bug repelant that I heard of to spray the yard with and I think it is garlic. I am not for sure of the name brand but I know it is natural and won't hurt the kids. Hope this helps, I know it is not fun having a baby with bug bites when they swell up so bad.

Looks like I'm not the first, but I was allergic to mosquito bites too! I'd swell up the size of a baseball at each bite until I was like 12. Only one other suggestion: be careful with the bug spray or try some of these nontoxic/organic products others suggested... when there was that whole West Niles scare, more kids went to the hospital for deet poisoning than the disease.. and the worst part-the symptoms are similar with both! I don't know much about alternatives, but I have heard great things about catnip as a mosquito repellant. GOOD LUCK!

Hi C.,

Just wanted to let you know that my son is ALLERGIC to mosquitos. The area swells up huge and if he gets one on his ear, it turns so red and big that his ear looks like a fake, rubber ear. Putting a dab of hydrocortisone cream on it as soon as it shows seems to reduce the swelling quite a bit. One time, he got one over his eyebrow and it drained to his eay and his eye swelled shut. The doctor recommended a does of benedryl. As far as prevention in the water, try to keep him in early morning and dusk as those are the worst part of the days. Also, we spray our yard with mosquito fogger. That keeps the majority away from the yard for a couple of weeks at a time. I hate using the pesticides but he's so miserable with the bites and he loves the outdoors. Good luck! I'm hoping this is something that my son will grow out of as he gets older.

Sounds exactly like a FIREANT BITE. If it's not a fireant bite, it could be that he is allergic to whatever bit him, and that would be why none of the other kids react. I would suggest, since he's so young, to please take him to see his Dr. Fireant bites have a lot of toxin in them. My husband, a grown man and soldier, got attacked by fireants and had a really bad reaction to it. He had to go the ER and be put on medicine for it.

Hi C., I told another poster about a product called Basic H2 from Shaklee, that is 100% non-toxic that will stay on even in water. In fact all you do is put a capful in their bathwater each day and it repels all types of icky crawlies. I was allergic to mosquito bites as a child, and it was the only thing that my mother was able to find. You will have to check their website to find a distributor in your area, I don't know if they sell directly or not. It seems a little high, but it is very concentrated. You can even drink it, not that it tastes good, but will cause noooo harm to your son, and will keep him from getting those bites. In addition to using it in the bath, I mix some with water in a spray bottle to use on my girls when we are going to be fishing, hiking, out by the barn, etc. It even helps keep fleas off of dogs!!!!

So good luck!

R. F.

My son used to react like this to mosquitos. They still bother him but not quite as much as when he was 2 or 3. He is 4 now and the bites don't swell up as much. It is scary though!! My sons would swell up to the size of a quarter, sometimes bigger, then they would puss and get hard underneath for several days. I took him to the doctor and they said some kids are just more sensitive to bites than others. They didn't seem to hurt my son either althouh it looks like it would. Poor little things. Your not alone though. I now use Avon bug gaurd plus every day, it has sunscreen in it too and smells good.

You have lots of advice so what's one more?!? I have four girls and they are all very allergic to mosquito bites. They swell, get infected with puss. When I discover a bite I get out the Preparation H. I know that sounds weird but think about it. It's supposed to relieve itch and reduce swelling. IT WORKS! I'm sure the people at Wal-Mart think we have some serious issues b/c in the summer we buy a lot of Prep H! They don't swell up on the girls anymore which makes the healing time a lot faster. Good luck.

I actually just read an article that said that by putting antiperspirant (sp?) on bug bites they heal faster. It sucks the excess fluid from swelling out and reduces the itch. Have you tried the children's waterproof sunscreen/bug repellant combo or one that repells a wide variety of little nasty critters?

I'm thinking it is likely that it is just mosquito bites and he is having a more severe allergic reaction to them than some people do. My daughter has this same thing happen to her. The red, raised, quarter-sized hard knots with blisters in the center are commomly how her body reacts to a mosquito bite. Last summer, when she was two, was the first time we started noticing this reaction. One of first mosquito bites she got last summer was on her face, on her cheek. It got so ugly with the blister in the center and her whole cheek swelled up, not to mention that it left a red scar for weeks after it healed. We thought it was a spider bite, but being that she had just turned two, we were always with her and would have seen a spider crawling on her face. Then a few days later, she got another couple of bites on her legs that looked the same. We quickly realized what it was and have taken extra precautions to keep her from getting bitten too often. Good luck to you and your son with this!

My daughter is the same way. Any bug bites she gets swell up. asdie from bug repellant, if he does get bitten, ask you pediatrician about benadryl. My plan of treatment for my daughter is benadryl (liquid) if the bite gets too outrageous, or dumbo like, but I do put hydrocortizone cream on the bites. It cuts down on the inflammation and itching and gives it time to heal. this cream is over-the-counter, but get the lowest dose (I have 1%), apply 2-3 times a day.
Let me know how it works.

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