Ant bites are not as common as mosquito or spider bites but can trigger localized swelling, redness and even an allergic reaction in rare circumstances. It is vital to instruct young children to avoid staying in areas where ant piles are present and clean any bites right away in order to avoid infection. You have to watch out for the indications of an allergic reaction such as itchiness, hives, stomach cramps or difficulty breathing since these signs requires immediate medical care.
Cleansing the ant bite
Cleanse the site of the ant bite using warm water and soap. Apply a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water to the affected area. You have to dry out the wound and dress it using an antibiotic treatment.
Carefully clean the area on a daily basis until it heals to avoid the development of infection, especially if the child scratches the area. In case the affected area becomes infected, you have to repeat the cleansing process and add a prescription-strength antibiotic cream.
Controlling the itchiness
The child should be given an over-the-counter oral antihistamine in order to minimize the swelling and itchiness, but make sure that you will carefully follow the package directions carefully. The doctor should be consulted if there are any concerns regarding the use of calamine.
These medications can make toddlers sleepy. You can apply calamine lotion or an anti-itch cream on the site. Just avoid using antihistamine-based creams in order to avoid overdose. Rinse out and cut the fingernails of the child and wrap the area using clothing in order to prevent scratching.
Swelling and pain
You can provide the toddler with ibuprofen to minimize the swelling and pain or simply apply an ice pack that is wrapped in clean cloth or paper towel. It is important to note that many children usually resist the latter treatment.
Read a book, sing songs or allow the child to watch his/her favorite movie while applying the ice pack to distract the child. Remember not to provide ibuprofen to a child below 8 months old unless allowed by the doctor. Do not provide ibuprofen to the child if he/she is being given other medications unless directed by the doctor.
When to consult a doctor
Always bear in mind that ant bites normally heal within a span of a few days, but a doctor should be referred right away if the bite becomes septic or remains swollen or reddened for a longer period.
Ant bites typically leave behind red, small bite marks, but fire ants might leave a bite that is ½ inch in diameter with a cloudy fluid. In case bites appear to vary from the description given, such as a purple, irregularly-shaped blister with a reddened outline, a doctor should be consulted especially in cases when a child experiences severe pain. In such cases, it might be a spider bite.