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Itchy bites

Long sunny days, gorgeous outdoor evenings and yep, you guessed what comes next...
“Is anyone else being eaten alive?”

Itchy bites are fairly common this time of year, says RPA’s Paediatric Staff Specialist Phil Coote.

“Keep an eye out for mosquitoes and midges and be aware they’ll bite any area of exposed skin,” Dr Coote says.

“Being outside in the evening is the prime-time for bug bites.”

“It’s best to dress yourself and your kids in long-sleeved clothing when outside and wear insect repellent,” he says.

Dr Coote says mosquito bites can be very irritating, but can also sometimes pass on disease to humans in tropical regions. He says thankfully mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue or Zika virus are not present in NSW.

Typically, bites from mosquitoes can be left alone – or if really itchy can be soothed with a little calamine lotion.

“It’s very rare but you should seek medical advice if you suspect the bite is from a big black spider,” Dr Coote says.

Redback spiders are always something to look out for says Dr Coote.

They’re poisonous and easily identifiable due to the red/orange stripe on their back.

“At first, there may be pain, redness and swelling at the bite site. Wash the area with soap and water and apply antiseptic.”

“If there is severe pain, go straight to the closest emergency department,” Dr Coote says.

Bee, wasp and ant stings are also something can that be very painful and particularly common at this time of year.

“Remove the sting by pulling it out with tweezers, wash the area with water and apply ice to relieve the pain.”

“If your child has an allergic reaction and has side-effects such as a rash, vomiting or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention,” he says.

With summer brings the peak tick season – which Dr Coote says we should all be aware of.

“Australian ticks bury themselves in the skin and release venom into the blood. Sometimes you may not know there is one on you or your child until symptoms start.”

“If there’s headache, blurred vision, weak limbs or unsteadiness while walking – make sure you check your child for a tick, it could be in a place where you might not normally look such as the hair.”

“If you do find one, use fine tipped tweezers to remove it and avoid squeezing the body of the tick. If you don’t think you got the whole tick, make sure to see your doctor,” Dr Coote says.

For more information, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.


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Page Last Updated: 16 February, 2021