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Summer Tips From Nurses: Bug and Tick Bites

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated June 15, 2022
    While summer time comes with inevitable bug bites, some can be more serious than others. Pediatric nurses offer four tips on treating bug and tick bites this summer.
    Credit: Getty Images

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    In some areas, itchy bug bits are synonymous with summer. But treating these bites properly can make all the difference. While mosquito bites aren’t usually dangerous to your health, they’re certainly uncomfortable. Constant scratching can lead to skin infections.

    Ticks are parasites that can infect humans with bacteria, protozoans, and viruses. Several of these can cause serious conditions, such as Lyme disease, tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

    Christine Russo is a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner who works with the pediatric trauma program at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. She recommends four ways to monitor for bug and tick bites on children this summer.

    1. 1

      Use the Right Repellant

      Avoid combination sunscreen and insect repellent products. Russo recommends instead using separate products as they’re needed.

    2. 2

      Stay Clear of Branches and Shrubs

      When playing outdoors, avoid wandering from an outdoor trail or brushing against overhanging branches or shrubs.

    3. 3

      Check for Ticks After Being Outdoors

      After coming indoors, check for ticks. Pay particular attention to areas such as behind the ears and around the hair.

      “Removing a tick as soon as possible can reduce the chances of becoming infected,” Russo says.

    4. 4

      Be Aware of Sensitivity to Bug Bites

      Some children are sensitive to bug bites. These can cause itching and irritation and can sometimes get infected.

      Anytime your child is bitten by an insect and develops shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or facial swelling, immediate medical attention is necessary. If an insect bite is very painful or has pus draining from it, it’s a good idea for the child to be checked by their pediatrician.

    Meet Our Contributors

    Portrait of Christine Russo, MSN, CPNP-PC, CPEN, TCRN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Stony Brook Childrens Hospital

    Christine Russo, MSN, CPNP-PC, CPEN, TCRN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Stony Brook Childrens Hospital

    Christine Russo discovered her love for pediatrics in the emergency department at Stony Brook University Hospital. She became a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner in 2021 and works with the pediatric trauma program at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and as an NP at a local primary care office.


    Portrait of Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D.

    Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D.

    Jenna Liphart Rhoads is a nurse educator and freelance author/editor. She earned a BSN from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing and a master’s in nursing education from Northern Illinois University. Liphart Rhoads earned a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in nursing education from Capella University. Her clinical background includes surgical-trauma adult critical care, interventional radiology procedures, and conscious sedation in adult and pediatric populations. Liphart Rhoads has taught in traditional BSN, RN-BSN, and graduate nursing programs in Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin.