How to protect your family from stings this summer.

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Experts say the prime time for bee and wasp stings begins this month and continues through early fall. Dewey Caron, M.D., Ph.D., professor of entomology at the University of Delaware in Newark, offers the following tips to protect your family:

  • Teach your child not to wave his hands or run away when bees or wasps fly nearby. Encourage him to walk away slowly and calmly, since stings often occur when the insect is stepped on or swatted away and the stinger comes off accidentally.
  • Keep food tightly covered when eating outside. Try putting a decoy plate of food on the outskirts of your yard beforehand so insects will have something other than your meal to busy themselves with.
  • Avoid strong-smelling perfumes and shampoos -- their scents are extremely attractive to bees and wasps.

If your child is stung, use ice or a cooling lotion like Lanacane to relieve discomfort. It's also crucial to know the signs of an allergic reaction, which include severe swelling all over the body, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Call an ambulance or go to the emergency room right away if your child experiences any of these.

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Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission from the August 2002 issue of Child magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.