This ‘pen trick’ is a must-know for parents heading into bug bite and rash season

The official state bird of Georgia should be the mosquito. You cannot go outside between the months of May through October without those jerks feasting all over your legs and arms (and neck and face, to be honest). And if you live in a heavily wooded area, you also have to worry about ticks, of course. Welcome to bug bite and rash season. Aka “summer.”

While bug bites may seem innocuous enough, how do you know when there may be a problem and you need to get it checked out? When it comes to children, you never can be too careful, and that’s why this pediatric nurse posted this super easy “pen trick” to help you determine when to take your child in to be seen for a bug bite or a rash.

“Outline with a pen, then check it again!” said Sarah Hunstead, a pediatric nurse and creator of child and first aid education group CPR Kids on her Instagram video.

“Grab a pen, circle around the outside, and check it again later. This is an easy way of being able to tell whether something is spreading or not,” she added.

Why should you monitor closely? According to the National Institute of Health (NHS) website, bites from insects can also cause illnesses, including “Lyme disease from ticks, scabies from mites, and malaria from mosquitoes in certain parts of the world.”

In addition to monitoring the growth of a bug bite, NHS suggests getting an appointment if the symptoms get worse and not getting any better, the bite or sting was in the throat or mouth or near the eyes, there’s accompanying stomach pain, dizziness and lightheadedness occur, and/or if there’s a rising temperature.

While monitoring the bite, if it seems like it’s a tick bite, make sure the tick is no longer attached. If it is, use fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and slowly move upwards. If you think it’s a sting, brush or scrape the stinger sideways with your finger or the edge of a bank card, per the NHS website. “Do not use tweezers to pull out a stinger as you could squeeze poison out of it,” the website noted.

For a rash, in addition to looking for whether or not it’s spreading, NHS recommends seeking medical attention if a stiff neck develops, the person becomes bothered by light, they seem confused, they have a high temperature, there’s difficulty breathing, pale skin, lips, and tongue, and if the rash looks like a small bruise or bleeding underneath and it doesn’t fade if you press against it. 

As long as you have a pen (and monitor for other symptoms) you and your family should be able to have a carefree summer. Don’t forget the bug spray or essential oil to keep them off of you in the first place.

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