Is this bite something to be concerned about?
October 24, 2011 12:19 PM   Subscribe

What is this on my baby's face? A bug bite? Something to worry about?

It looks bigger and flatter than the standard mosquito bite, although it is raised somewhat. In the reddish circle are some yellow looking spots that aren't as clear in my not-so-great camera phone photos as they are in reality. She doesn't seem troubled by it, but I haven't seen anything quite like it before. Is this something that should be seen by a doctor, or no big deal? We live in far south Texas, right along the border.
posted by Pater Aletheias to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
Probably not a big deal, but... it's your kid. Call a doctor.
posted by empath at 12:20 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

There are all kinds of weird little babyrashes they can get, but they range from no big deal to serious problem, so get a professional to check it out for sure. The yellowish spots are what would concern me.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:26 PM on October 24, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, guys, but I'm really hoping to hear from someone with a clear idea what this is. I can do the calculation myself of whether to pay $120 for a doctor visit for an unknown weird spot. (No health insurance until December.) More information about what it is would be helpful.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:35 PM on October 24, 2011

I would guess spider bites, however I live somewhere without poisonous insects; I would seek professional opinion if scary spiders lived in my area. /mother of three
posted by saucysault at 12:39 PM on October 24, 2011

Is the rim/edge raised? It looks a little bit like ringworm (which is a fungus and can be easily treated with antifungal creams, though usually prescription), but not quite. See pics here:
posted by Betty's Table at 12:40 PM on October 24, 2011

Skin problems are notoriously hard to diagnose, even for medical professionals sometimes.

It could be eczema, it could be fungal, it could be a bug bite. I'd wait a day or two and see how it progresses, then take the baby in. Don't trust us with a camera phone picutre.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:40 PM on October 24, 2011 [7 favorites]

It could be a virus. I remember our son (at 7) would develop a mysterious rash all over his body every night at bedtime for three days straight. It went away.

Speaking as a parent who lives in a country with universal health care, but who would rather avoid dragging kids to the local clinic or emerg for several hours of nothing...

I think what you need to watch here is for signs of fever, especially accompanied by drowsiness or listlessness. Listen to her breathing, too. However, if the rash or bug bite or whatever is not interfering with her usual cheerfulness or routine, I would take a wait-and-see attitude.

There are a lot of rashes that doctors just can't explain. However, if it lasts for more than 3 days, you need to go see a doctor.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:41 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

My mosquito bites can be rather large and flatter than what people are used to, similar to your picture. They also often have a small yellowish spot where the actual puncture wound occurred. This could have been a "double dipper."

Not that I have any experience with children, so ignore me and see your ped if this seems odd to you.
posted by blurker at 12:43 PM on October 24, 2011

I would also say that at the first sign of infection (fever + increased swelling), go to emergency.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:44 PM on October 24, 2011

Did the baby drool sleeping on that side of her face? How long has it been there?

Sometimes they get a rash from their own saliva, milk, etc.

Put some vaseline on it and if it seems to get bigger or the baby doesn't like when you touch it, you may want to call the doctor. How old is the baby? More than 6 months or less? If it seems to spread later in the day or tomorrow, give the baby a 1/4 teaspoon of benadryl if over 6 months (no benadryl if under) and go to the doctor.
posted by Yellow at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2011

OH, if you are afraid of administering the benadryl by mouth, there is a topical one.
posted by Yellow at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2011

Best answer: It does look like a bite. The key questions are how long has it been there, and what insects
/spiders/ etc. are a cause for concern in your area? We don't really have a lot of poisonous insects here in the NW, nor tick borne illness so most bites like this can be blown off here, but I have no idea about Texas.

What you are seeing is an acute hypersensitivity reaction to some insect allergen, generally this will be limited to a few cm across and will last a day or two. Once in a while I'll see someone with a very severe local reaction spreading over the face or something and we'll use benadryl or steroids but that is pretty rare. Usually, topical hydrocortisone is the best treatment, although doing nothing is fine. Note that we are not talking about anaphylaxis here-- if your kid is wheezing, lethargic, drooling, etc, I trust you'd be on the phone with 911.

The bite itself could be from anything really and look like this -- mosquito, flea, bed bug, spider, tick, even a bee sting. Unless you know about a particular exposure, you're unlikely to figure out the culprit.

Ok, here's what's bad that could happen -- secondary infection from bacteria being inoculated into skin. Strep generally causes fever, spreading redness and warmth and tenderness. Staph generally causes an oozing sore. Either of these should be seen ASAP.

The wild card here is, do you guys have rocky mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, or other rickettsial diseases and how sure are you that she didn't get a tick bite? Those questions should go to your doctor.

/not medical advice, call 911 right away if this is a life threatening emergency, etc.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:10 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Draw a line on the perimeter of the red mark. It will help you gauge whether it's continuing to expand. It's notoriously difficult to detect the speed of development of these kinds of things, so mark the outside with a fine pen and monitor it.

If this was my kid, I might put some topical polysporin or benadryl on it, consider an oral antihistamine, watch it for changes, and check her temperature and see if it lasts another day or two. If it continues to swell, change color, get a line as though the infection was traveling in the bloodstream or any other major changes, of course I'd get it checked out. However, we have zero idea about your own kid's history and the cell phone picture is literally no use!

Is it really warm to the touch?

I thought babies had some kind of different health insurance situation in the U.S., or at least they could have separate state insurance of *some* kind even if their parents weren't insured. Is that totally false?
posted by barnone at 1:13 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Looks like a bug bite to me, but yeah, watch it for a bite to see if it keeps going to starts to die down. If it dies down over the next couple of hours, it was just a bite and you can save yourself the $120. However, if it keeps getting bigger, or your baby gets more sick symptoms (fever, etc), then off to the doctor for a check.

At least that's what I'd do as a mom, but non-medical professional.
posted by katers890 at 1:39 PM on October 24, 2011

If your child is a permanent resident of Texas and a legal citizen of the united states, she should be eligible for CHIP ( which should get her 6 months of health insurance for $50 or less.
posted by zia at 1:56 PM on October 24, 2011

This looks like a weird rash my friend's kid got. She finally realized he was getting it because he's allergic to nuts and she was eating homemade granola bars full of tree nuts and didn't wash her hands after. Anyone eating new and/or allergenic foods?
posted by chiababe at 4:08 PM on October 24, 2011

Response by poster: She's been on rice cereal for about a week, but other than that, just breastmilk or formula. It's probably a bite.

barnone--good idea marking the perimeter. We'll do that. Other than just that discolored spot, no symptoms of anything at all. No fever, playing normally, all that.

Thanks, Slarty--good information.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:55 PM on October 24, 2011

Just an FYI - marking the baby's skin can be problematic because anything that will help you measure may be harsh to remove later. Anything easy to remove may not last long enough and cause you panic later when part of it disappears. (A bug bite may be itchy enough for the baby to rub his/her face on things and that might also rub out the mark)

Use a plastic baggie (like Ziploc or Glad) that will cover the area and give you a marking point - sort of like an overlay. You could use the ear or the corner of the mouth as a starting to point to later line up your overlay to measure the spot.
posted by jaimystery at 7:03 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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