Insect Safety

by Great Falls Clinic Pediatrics

Ouch! Nobody likes to hear that sound from their child, and it can be especially distressing when it’s due to an insect bite. As the weather in Montana warms up, the number of insects increases, and some of them can bite and cause a lot of discomfort. Insects like mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, and bees can spread diseases, cause painful local reactions, or even systemic allergic reactions in some children.

What are some ways to protect your child from insect bites and related illnesses?

  1. Insect repellents containing DEET are considered the most effective for protection from insects. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for children, a product have no more than 30% DEET. Other repellents containing picarin or eucalyptus oil may also be effective- watch for allergic reactions as some of these products have not been extensively studied.
  2. Long-sleeved light-colored fabrics, long pants, socks and closed-toe shoes, especially when hiking, are great protection from mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, and other insects. Permethrin, a chemical product, can be applied to clothing (not skin!), lasts for several washings, and is the best protection from ticks.
  3. Check your child’s hair, skin, and clothing for ticks every day if you visit an area known for ticks.
  4. If your child has anaphylaxis to certain insect bites (usually bees and wasps), ensure that they always have an epinephrine pen on their person at all times. Formulate an anaphylaxis management plan with your child’s pediatrician to ensure quick action if the need arises. Be reassured that anaphylaxis is a rare occurrence for most children.
  5. Local reactions to insect bite can be treated with anti-itch cream to prevent itching. If you do notice an oozing sore, large ulcer, spreading rash or if you are at all worried about the site of an insect rash, contact your child’s pediatrician for an evaluation, as some of these may need treatment.

For more information on insect safety, please visit:

Hoping for a summer free of insect bites! Have you found additional ways to protect yourself and your children?