QOD: How do we know if a bug bite is infected?

Treat bug bites with cream to prevent infection. If a bite continues to swell, it's probably infected.

For itchy bug bites, try one or more of the following:

  • A cool washcloth over the area of the bites often works wonders.
  • A tube of 1 percent cortisone cream, available over the counter, can be one of mom's best weapons against all things itchy. Apply it three times a day while the bite is itchy.
  • Clean, short fingernails and clean skin can help prevent infections, but triple antibiotic cream can be placed on any bites where your child has scratched and opened the skin.

An infected bite is one where the area of swelling becomes larger after a day or two instead of shrinking or one in which the skin surrounding the bite becomes tender and red.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2019

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