What Should You Do for an Ant Bite on a Toddler?

Ant bites, though not as common as spider or mosquito bites, can cause redness, localized swelling and in rare cases, an allergic reaction. Teach young children to steer clear of ant piles and clean any bites immediately to avoid infection. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, itching, stomach cramps or trouble breathing. These signs require immediate medical attention.

Close-up of ants crawling into a burrow. (Image: Scott Harms/iStock/Getty Images)

Clean the Ant Bite

Wash an ant bite immediately with warm soap and water. Apply a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water to the area. Dry the wound and dress it with an antibiotic treatment. Clean the area daily until it heals to avoid infection, especially if your child is scratching it. If the area does become infected, repeat the cleaning process and add a prescription-strength antibiotic cream, according to AskDrSears.com.

Control the Itch

Give your child an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to reduce itching and swelling, but follow package directions carefully, and ask your child's pediatrician if you have any concerns about using calamine. These medications may make toddlers sleepy or rev them up. Apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream to the site, but avoid creams that contain antihistamines to prevent overdosing. Wash and trim your child's nails and cover the area with clothing to prevent scratching.

Pain and Swelling

Offer ibuprofen to your toddler to reduce swelling and pain or apply an ice pack wrapped in a paper towel or cloth. Most young children resist the latter treatment. Read a book, watch a favorite movie or sing songs as you apply the ice pack to distract your child. Never give ibuprofen to a child under 8 months without your pediatrician's approval, and don't give ibuprofen to your child if he is taking other medicines, unless directed by your pediatrician, according to BabyCenter.

When It's Time to See the Doctor

Ant bites usually heal within a few days, but consult your pediatrician immediately if the bite becomes infected or remains red and swollen for an extended period. Ant bites usually leave small, red bite marks, although fire ants may leave a bite 1/2 inch in diameter with cloudy fluid. If a bites varies from this description, perhaps appearing as a purple, irregularly shaped blister with a red outline, consult your doctor, especially if the child is experiencing severe pain. The bite may be a spider bite, rather than an ant bite.

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