Preschooler Allergic to Mosquito Bites?

Updated on July 12, 2013
M.M. asks from Chicago, IL
15 answers

My son is 3 years old. He always had a reaction to mosquito bites. It swells up and gets filled with pus sometimes. One time, last year, it swelled up really bad and we had to take him to the ER over the weekend. It was size of half a tennis ball. We were asked to start on antibiotics immediately, so it doesn't get infected and also use itch relief creams.
Anyways, this weekend he got bit many times inspite of using bug spray. I used something that I found in walmart which did not have deet. He had a tough time with he swelling and one of our friends who is a doctor suggested we give him some Motrin to help with the inflammation. I did that and my son did better.
I want to hear from you moms on how I can help my son with this. Its difficult to avoid mosquitoes completely in Chicago area. We have little pond near our building and sometimes really swamped with mosquitoes.
Do I need to make an appt with his pediatrician just to discuss this? I haven't actually discussed this with his ped ever. I wanted to check with you moms first, if there is anything OTC that I could use. If not, I will make an appt, I have heard benadryl would help since this could be a allergic reaction. Has anyone used benadryl for insect bites? And also if your kids had similar reaction to insect bites, did it get better as they grew older?
Thanks for all the help in advance moms!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I was told to use Benadryl orally because the creams applied on the skin will not penetrate the skin. When possible you probably want to give it at first bite before it gets to the point of swelling and pus filled.

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answers from Columbus on

My daughter is very sensitive to mosquito bites - the whole reason bites swell is because of histamines, so really, we're all "allergic," just some more than others. My daughter's whole leg swelled so badly one summer from bites that her whole lower leg was hard as a rock and the dr. said it was the worst she had ever seen. She gave my daughter benadryl and itch cream. Worked fine. Infections typically come not from the bite but from dirty fingernails scratching away at the bite. I'm surprised they put him on antibiotics without an actually infection -- it sounds like it was swollen because of the histamines. Since it's an ongoing problem and you have a pond nearby, I would consult your pediatrician. Be faithful about insect repellent and wear white clothes, long sleeves and pants when reasonable.

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter has the same problem. She's 7 now. She also has had reactions to injections (this didnt start until she was about 5 1/2) and got a skin infection from the flu shot. I only get her the nasal vaccine now. But I digress...

The first time she had a reaction to a mosquito bite, I called and consulted with my pediatrician's office. They told M. to draw a circle around the area to see if the swelling continued to increase. They don't like to see the area get bigger than 1 1/2" In diameter. If it does, I need to consult with them further. They also advised to begin a regimen of Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream to control the reaction. This is what I do now automatically when she gets a bite and it seems to control them pretty well. No trips to the doc or ER since and although there is still some swelling, it stays reasonable. Hope this helps! As you said, those darn bites are virtually impossible to avoid.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I swell up like crazy too. Here's what I used.

If you apply a few minutes after the bite, it prevents the whole swelling reaction. In general, it stops the itching on any insect bites.

For repellent, I use this:
But the best prevention is to cover up with clothing. I spray my clothes with the repellent as well.

I'm living proof that it doesn't get better as you get older.

If you're out of repellent, Vick's vapor rub works really well too. I've seen mosquitoes hover over my arm but won't land when they smell vick's.


answers from Grand Forks on

When my kids were younger their reactions to bites were more severe than they are now, although not quite as bad as your son. I have used Benedryl and it helped, but it also made them sleep, so only at bed time. I have also used it for wasp stings.



answers from Madison on

My 13-year-old daughter is highly allergic. We've been using pure vanilla on her exposed skin when she goes out, and so far this has been working quite well. She still gets some bites, but she's not covered.

A lady who used to live in Arkansas told M. she made her kids take a bath with bleach (only the little capful that's on the bottle). Then when you sweat, the bleach "smell" is excreted through the skin--and mosquitoes apparently don't like the smell.

When there are bites, you can try (do one of these as soon as you notice a bite):
1) using a paste of meat tenderizer (like Lawry's) and water on the bites. Make sure the tenderizer has papain in it, which is what takes the poison out.
2) using baking soda and water as a paste, which will take the poison out.
3) using Bentonite clay and water as a paste, which will take the poison out.
4) some people find that toothpaste helps soothe and takes away some of the itching.

When they are itching, you can try:
1) Homeopathic RX apis mellifica. My daughter uses the 30cc (the strongest). Helps bring down inflammation and itching. Tiny pills put under the tongue; sublingual medicine.
2) Pure essential Lavender, which brings down the itching as well as the swelling.

I am currently looking into a product that is made of many different essential oils that, when taken in pill form, excretes an odor from the skin that doesn't bother us/isn't smelled by humans but the mosquitoes don't like. Someone I know has tried this product with her family when they go camping (has used it for a few years already) and has had great success. I just ordered it, so my family hasn't had a chance yet to try it. If you're interested, please contact M., and I can let you know the results! And tell you what it is.

This is a histamine reaction. My daughter is horrible "allergic" to mosquito bites as well as other insect bites. I'm very "allergic" to cold--cold wind, cold weather, cold water--I break out in really bad hives.



answers from New York on

Talk to the doctor about a benadryl dose. That will help with the reaction to the bites. I use it and will give it to my 5 year old as well when necessary.

We also use an OTC cortizone cream as well.

Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

I just posted recently about this issue with my 2 year old. Not as bad as your son, though.

The pharmacist told M. to put hydrocortizone cream on the bites. She told M. to get .5% (which I only found in the CVS sensitive skin brand). Most were 1%. I assume that was because of my daughter's age. She also said that Benedryl (or any histamine blocker) was fine, too.

I would say to talk with the pediatrician though, since they are getting pus in them.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My MIL took vinegar pills. Research if your boy can eat foods higher in vinegar and if that will have any effect on the mosquito's wanting to eat him up.

There is a home remedy going around FB that is something like this, mineral oil, soaking whole cloves in the mineral oil for 4 days, then adding some other stuff.

Here's the recipe. You can always use the Benadryl stick on the actual mosquito bite too. It stops the reaction almost immediately. You cannot take anything else that has ANY sort of antihistamine in it though.



answers from Chicago on

You need to use a product with deet or Off Clip Ons work but only if you're still so not the best for a 3 year old.
If you're concerned about putting the product on his skin, put long shirt and pants on him and spray the clothes w/ a deet-based product.
If you don't like the feel of the spray, you can use the off smooth and dry. The smooth and dry family has a lower concentration of deet than the deep woods.
We once bought each of us an outfit that repels mosquitos. That's pretty cool. They are expensive but you can wear them over and over. Might be worth it for your son since he reacts so severly to bites and you don't seem to want to use deet.



answers from Los Angeles on

I used a bug wacker to get rid of the mosquitos around my home. No mosquitos and you don't need to worry about what t put on him for repellant.

I got a 1/4 to 1/3 acre size bug wacker. I went to the butcher and got fresh beef liver and asked for extra blood. (Yes, he looked at M. like I was crazy.) I hung the bug wacker about face high in a corner of my yard and attached the liver and blood to the bottom of the bug wacker, then I plugged the bug wacker in. The next morning I had so many mosquitos in my bug wacker I couldn't see the light. I cleaned out the bugwacker and then plugged it back in. In three weeks I could go outside at dusk and not be attacked. In 4 weeks we could use our pool at dusk and t night.

I killed so many mosquitos that they didn't come back for the next two years. After that I moved.

Good luck to you and yours.


answers from Boston on

I'm pretty reactive to mosquitoes (they seem to prefer M. over the others in the room anyway and my bites are larger). I also react to May flies - they are small black flies we have in New England especially in May - and those are large swollen welts, hot to the touch, and often 3-4 inches across. It's weird because I have eliminated all of my other allergies (pollen, grasses, animals) but the insect thing continues. Benadryl just treats the symptom and not the cause, of course, but I'm concerned about the extent of his reaction. Also, pus doesn't sound like an allergy - it sounds like an infection. So if you are SURE these are all mosquito bites and not from another insect, then it's possible the scratching is getting dirt in there and causing an infection. A cortisone cream is okay but it can't be put on something that's infected or even scratched open, and the rubbing action can actually irritate the itch. If he doesn't have too many, you might put the cream on a bandaid and then place the bandaid over the bite, gently and without pressing or rubbing. Ice can help the swelling but I know that's hard with a 3 year old.

There's also a new natural product that helps enormously with inflammation and also epigenetics - helping to get the genes to express themselves as they should. It's been extremely successful with autoimmune issues, and allergic reactions are a form of autoimmune response. (Yes, the mosquito starts the problem but the over-reaction is autoimmune.) It's save for kids, babies, adults - it's entirely plant based and is available in capsules as well as in powdered supplements (one of which is highly effective in kids, way more than general vitamins which are generally quite wasteful). I'm using that for all its other properties and prevention, and I'll be interested to see if it helps with bites. I still get bitten, but I've noticed much less swelling. So that could work too, but it's not an overnight solution. Let M. know if you want more info on that.



answers from Chicago on

When my son was 3 (he is now 6) we discovered that he is highly allergic to mosquito bites. If he gets a bite on his face, whichever eye it is closest to swells shut for 3 days. If it is on another part of his body, it swells greatly. We talked to our doctor, and she said to give Benadryl immediately and continue until it seems the bite is clearing up. I carry the one-dose Benadryl packets you can get at Walgreens in my purse which makes it convenient. He got a bite a couple of days ago, and while it is a little swollen near his eye it kept it from swelling shut since we have been giving Benadryl every 4-6 hours. I have not found his reactions to have lessen in the last three years as he has gotten older.

Also we ALWAYS put bug spray on my son when he is outside no matter what time of day. We tried some of the natural remedies that you can get at Whole Foods, and they didn't work at all. He got five bites in less than a half hour. We stick with the OFF Family spray which works well.


answers from Norfolk on

Who's responsible for maintaining the pond?
With west nile virus and other mosquito borne diseases a stagnant pond (and neglected swimming pools) is a public health issue.
Sure talk to your pediatrician about the reaction your son has to the bites but also see what you can do to get some effective mosquito control working in your area.


answers from Los Angeles on

I suggest you DO want to talk to his pediatrician to discuss it, he or she may prescribe something in addition to recommending OTC medicines. Allergies can improve or get seriously worse as children get older, I've seen both in my kids. Here's tips on how to prevent (some) bites, and how to treat them -

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