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My Child Has Been Stung

Ouch! My child has been stung.

As we enter the warmer months the bees, wasps and ants have a greater presence in our backyards and parks. If your child suddenly comes to you from outside, screaming in pain it is always a good idea to give them a quick once-over to check for any sign that they have been stung by an insect.

Following a sting the surrounding skin will commonly become swollen and red in colour, it will usually be painful and sometimes itchy. A bee will also leave behind a small stinger on the surface of the skin and this should be removed by scraping it away.

In all cases of bee, wasp and ant stings it is recommended to wash the affected area with soap and water and then apply an ice pack, 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off for the first two hours, repeating its application for 20 minutes every two hours thereafter within the next 24 hours (as long as they are not asleep). A firm compression bandage may also assist in reducing the swelling and therefore the pain if the sting was on an arm or leg. If your child is old enough to have a child anti-histamine medication then this may also be of benefit in reducing their pain and discomfort.

An insect sting becomes a first aid emergency if the child has been stung more than approximately 5 times during a single event or if the child shows signs of an allergic reaction that involve areas of the body away from the sting site. Signs that indicate a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) include vomiting, shortness of breath, persistent dizziness, etc. If this occurs telephone 000 and then lay the child down and elevate their legs (if they are short of breath allow them to sit up), keep them still and apply a pressure immobilisation bandage. If the child has been previously diagnosed with anaphylaxis then they should have their adrenaline auto-injecting device (eg. EpiPen) immediately administered.

For your child’s sake the best alternative is to prevent them from getting stung from such insects. Strategies include dressing your children in lighter clothing when outdoors, avoid wearing perfumes, stop them drinking from open cans or bottles (use a straw instead) and for them not disturb insect nests. Unfortunately, most children will get stung by an insect at some stage and so it is reassuring to know how to manage this first aid situation.


Child Revive First Aid
M: 0417 348 915
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