In rare cases, a child may have a severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting, which could be fatal. If your baby has any of the following symptoms after he's bitten, call an ambulance:

•  wheezing or trouble breathing

•  vomiting

•  hives or a rash on other areas of his body

•  sleepiness or confusion, possibly indicating shock

•  rapid heartbeat

•  swelling of his lips or throat

While waiting for medical help, lay your baby down with the stung body part below the level of his heart, if possible. Try to keep him calm and cover him with a blanket.

A shot of epinephrine can stop a severe allergic reaction before the child's throat closes or he passes out.

Talk with the doctor about your baby's allergy. Together you'll want to develop an action plan to follow in the event of a reaction. And you'll need to make sure that everyone who is ever in charge of caring for your child understands the plan fully.

When your baby gets older, the doctor may recommend that you carry an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen or Twinject), which he can prescribe and show you how to use it in case of a reaction. These devices look like magic markers and automatically administer the right dose of epinephrine to stop an allergic reaction. They're designed for people weighing at least 33 pounds.

It's also a good idea to have your child wear a medical-alert bracelet, so that if he's bitten or stung his caregivers will know that it's a medical emergency.

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