Every mother dreads the idea of a wasp stinging their baby. Many imagine their skin blowing up like a balloon or that they will get some dreadful autoimmune condition.
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The truth is that most wasp stings are painful, but not life-threatening to babies. However, they are at a higher risk because their immune system is still developing and they are not fully mature.
Why Might Babies Be At Risk Of Wasp Stings?
The following are some factors worth considering that indicate that babies might be at a higher risk of serious wasp stings.
Like adults, babies may have allergic reactions to wasp stings. However, the risks might be higher.
First, babies can’t tell you a wasp stung them, except through crying. If the wasp stung them through clothes, you might not see it until your baby is severely ill, or not at all.
Second, babies have narrower, softer airways than adults. Consequently, anaphylaxis could result in the airway being blocked more easily.
And finally, babies have less developed immune systems than adults. Therefore, their bodies are more liable to react disproportionately to a sting.
Babies are also at risk of being unable to defend themselves against multiple stings. While a fully grown adult can easily leave an at-risk area after being stung once or a couple of times, babies can’t.
Babies can also inadvertently disturb a wasp’s nest, leading to a large number of stings. As such, more venom may enter their bodies, provoking an enhanced immune response.
Even if babies aren’t allergic to wasp stings, they can be extraordinarily painful for them. Babies may find it hard to communicate their discomfort.
Location Of Stings
Wasps may find it easier to sting more sensitive areas of the baby’s body. For instance, babies may not react when they crawl in their mouths, which can lead to unpleasant stings on the tongue, cheek, or throat. If any of these areas swell, it can make an allergic response more severe.
Finally, babies are at a higher risk of infection compared to adults. Wasp stings can create open wounds, with particles from the wasp left under the skin. Normally, the immune system will sterilize these, but babies can develop redness and discharge, which may require antibiotics.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Baby Wasp Stings
No mom wants their child to experience a wasp sting, especially a baby. So what can you do about it?
Reduce Exposure To Areas With Wasps Nests
Wasps like to live in sheltered environments, particularly in guttering, cladding, cavity walls, and attics. You can usually see them hovering around nests that interest them, so keep your baby away from these areas. Wasps also love bins, picnic tables, and areas in natural woodland with lots of food.
Call The Pros
You can also reduce the risk to your baby by calling pest control if you notice any signs of wasp infestation. Wasp nests look like small coils of paper and have a kind of musty, unusual smell to them (if you spot them indoors). Pest control experts can remove these with a combination of pesticidal powder and long extension rods that can quickly destroy and remove nests, regardless of location.
You can try to dislodge nests yourself if they have been abandoned. But remember, wasps won’t usually return to a nest to reuse it. Instead, they will move on or build a new one.
Wear Insect Repellent
You can also protect your baby by spraying them with safe insect repellent. These formulations should contain natural ingredients that wasps hate. Don’t spray your baby with any repellents that are only suitable for adults. Some may contain compounds that might harm their development.
Another pro tip when dealing with wasps is to remain calm. Most of these insects simply want to go about their day, collecting food, and returning to the hive. If you spot a lot of wasps, don’t make any sudden movements, as these can send them into a frenzy. Instead, gently back away, protecting your baby as you go.
Don’t kill any wasps. Antagonizing them can cause others to wake up and look for the source of the threat. Wasps work as a swarm, which can be highly dangerous if you have a serious infestation.
Another tactic is to cover up your baby in protective clothing. Thick long-sleeved sweaters and pants deny wasps any opportunities to sting open skin. If you are particularly worried, you can put mosquito nets over your baby’s pram.