Recognizing summer bug bites and the best treatment options

Tiny chiggers living in tall grass and weeds can also send kids to the doctor's office

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

Our kids love playing outdoors in the summertime, but you may notice it's a field day for insects and bugs.

Pediatricians say they're seeing lots of ant bites, mosquito bites, ticks and chiggers chomping on our little ones.

But there are simple things you can do to ease their pain and prevent infection.

NBC's new series "Camp" brings back those memories of summer camp, but you don't want the lasting impact of itchy, red, painful insect bites.

Pediatrician Dr. Carolyn Carlson said fire and bites which look like little white pimples are especially common.

Dr. Carlson advised, "Do not pop that little bubble because that can introduce bacteria. So the bubble is the body's reaction to the toxin that the fire ant puts in there."

She recommends sealing the area with a Band-Aid to prevent itching.

Teeny tiny chiggers living in tall grass and weeds can also send kids to the doctor's office.

Dr. Carlson explained, "They are intensely itchy or what we say paretic and they're darker. There's usually not the wheel that you see from a mosquito bite."

There's no real treatment for chiggers, but an anti-itch cream can help.

If you're in a wooded area, you may encounter ticks.

Relatives of spiders, they survive by sucking your blood.

They can also transmit dangerous diseases.

Dr. Carlson said, "Ticks you want to get rid of right away, but don't squeeze the body. Don't use matches. Don't cover them in Vaseline."

An ice pack or oatmeal soak can soothe bites and stings, but Dr. Carlson says keep a close eye on the wound.

She explained, "Once you've had a bite of any type, look for it getting better and then getting worse because that's always a sign that infection has set in and you might need antibiotics."

Mosquito bites are just a way of life in the Houston area.

Dr. Carlson says prevention is key.

Use repellant with DEET.

If you're going to be in the woods a lot, try applying picaridin right onto your clothing which can repel insects, ticks and chiggers.

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