Question: When my 4-year-old son gets an insect bite, it will swell badly. It happens on his legs, hands and behind his ear. Is this swelling normal and common in children?

insect bite rashPhoto source:

Answer: Strong insect bite reactions are commoner in children with underlying atopic dermatitis. This is a common skin disease, characterised by chronic dry and sensitive skin. The eczema skin is more porous, and allows more water beneath the skin to be lost, and external proteins like insect bites and allergens to penetrate more easily.

Regular moisturisers improve the skin barrier and can reduce the reactions. Other measures to reduce insect bites include wearing long sleeves, use of insect repellents, regular baths to reduce sweat and skin temperature, and use of anti-itch creams after the insect bite.

Dr Liew Woei Kang, Paediatrician, Sub-specialty in Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology, SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, Asthma, Lung, Sleep & Allergy Centre

(Note: Dr Liew Woei Kang is no longer with SBCC Baby & Child Clinic)

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