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Children and Fleas, Mites, and Chiggers

Fleas, mites, and chiggers often bite humans, but are not poisonous. It is sometimes difficult to assess which type of insect caused the bite, or if the rash is caused by poison ivy or other skin conditions.

What are the symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite?

The following are the most common symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Small, raised skin lesions

  • Pain or itching

  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)

  • Allergic-type reactions in hypersensitive children with swelling or blistering

The symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

Treatment for bites caused by fleas, mites and chiggers

Specific treatment for these insect bites will be determined by your child's health care provider. Some general guidelines for treatment may include the following:

  • Clean the area well with soap and water.

  • Use an antihistamine, if needed, for itching. Antihistamines can be taken orally or applied to affected area of skin. Be sure to follow the instructions on the medication label. 

  • Give your child acetaminophen, if needed, for discomfort. Be sure to follow instructions on the medication label. 

When should I call my child's health care provider?

Call your child's doctor if your child has:

  • Persistent pain or itching

  • Signs of infection at the site such as increased redness, warmth, swelling, or drainage

  • Fever

Call 911 or your local emergency medical service (EMS) if your child has signs of a severe allergic reaction such as trouble breathing, tightness in the throat or chest, feeling faint, dizziness, hives, and/or nausea and vomiting.

Online Medical Reviewer: Gomez, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 4/30/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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