Prevention And Treatment Tips For Poison Ivy, Mosquito And Tick Bites
Dr. Sergey Kunkov, Director, of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital answers questions about three summer nuisances
STONY BROOK, N.Y
., August 16, 2010 – August is a very popular time for Long Island families to vacation. As you prepare for hiking, bike riding, camping and added time outdoors a few simple reminders can keep you and your children comfortable. A question and answer session with Dr. Sergey Kunkov, Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department of Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital provides valuable insight.
Q. Is it safe and advisable to use insect repellent on children?
A. I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in suggesting that parents choose a type and concentration of insect repellent based on the amount of time that their children will be outdoors and exposed to mosquitoes, keeping in mind that many of the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus bite between dusk and dawn. I think it is safe and effective to use products with DEET as long as the directions are properly followed. However, do not use repellents containing DEET on infants less than two months old. I also recommend that you put the repellent on your own hands and then rub them on your child, avoiding eyes and mouth and using sparingly around the ears. It is important not to put repellent on your children’s hands because they often put their hands in their mouths.
Q. What exactly is Lyme disease and what are the symptoms?
A. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness spread through the bite of an infected tick. If your child has been in a wooded or grassy area make sure that you check him/her for ticks. The longer an infected tick remains embedded in the skin, the more likely you are to contract the disease. Once removed look for symptoms including fatigue, fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain, red bull’s-eye rash, and joint pain. Do not ignore these symptoms or attempt to treat them with over-the-counter medications. If your child has been bitten by a tick or displays these symptoms see your pediatrician or visit the Pediatric Emergency Department at Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Often a course of antibiotics is used to treat the disease.
Q. What is the best way to treat poison ivy?
A. As soon as the rash appears clean all areas of the skin with warm water and soap to remove the oils of the weed from your child’s skin. A bath is an easy remedy. After the bath, calamine lotion should be applied. If the itching continues, cool compresses can be applied as well. Remind children that scratching only makes things worse. Providing distractions for your child can be one of the best and easiest solutions. Sometimes rashes spread and may result in infection and/or fever. If your child’s poison ivy is that severe seek the help of your pediatrician or the Pediatric Emergency Department.
Finally, Dr. Kunkov advises, “Don’t avoid the outdoors; continue to approach your summer vacation wisely. The old adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ still holds true.”
When in doubt, remember that Pediatric Emergency Department at Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital is a child-friendly environment with a highly specialized staff that is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostics, as well as pediatric emergency and trauma expertise. Dr. Kunkov and the team of physicians and nurses are specially trained to treat young patients and accommodate their families. The Pediatric ED is designed with private treatment rooms, child-sized equipment, gowns, IVs, airway management tools, and other medical necessities. For more information contact HealthConnect® at 631-444-4000 or on the web at
About Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital
Established in 2010, Stony Brook Children’s represents a forceful response by Stony Brook University Medical Center to an increasing national trend within pediatric medicine in the severity of childhood illness, prevalence of chronic conditions and survivorship of care. Stony Brook Children’s serves the needs of the children of Suffolk County as a community hospital for local residents, a tertiary hospital for complex, chronic or congenital conditions and a safety net hospital for those who are underinsured or uninsured. Stony Brook Children’s currently operates 100 pediatric beds with a faculty of more than 100 pediatric providers in 30 different specialties and more than 200 voluntary pediatric faculty members. More than 7,000 children and adolescents are admitted to Stony Brook each year and in 2009 the Stony Brook provided primary pediatric care services to more than 50,000 children with Medicaid coverage.