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How to treat stinging nettles on kids

Updated February 21, 2017

Stinging nettles are herbaceous annual or perennial plants found in various climates throughout the world and frequently in North America. The leaves of the stinging nettles are covered with silky hairs that contain the chemical skin irritants formic acid and histamine. If your child accidentally touches or brushes a stinging nettle, there is a simple, at-home treatment you can use to relieve the pain and rash.

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  1. Make a paste from baking soda and water. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a small container and gradually add approximately 1 tablespoon of water until the paste has a consistency that is thin enough to spread, but won't run completely off the sting area.

  2. Apply the solution to the sting area by gently rubbing the paste on the area that is in pain. If you see a rash forming, use this as a guideline for where to apply the paste.

  3. Leave the paste on the skin for up to 30 minutes before washing it off with cool water. The pain should be relieved after a few minutes, but could last longer, depending the sensitivity of your child's skin to the specific chemical skin irritants.

  4. Reapply the paste to the irritated skin up to three times per day.

  5. Warning

    If the pain of the sting increases or your child's rash grows, in addition to symptoms such as a fever or vomiting, you should contact your child's doctor. A doctor may want to recommend an oral antihistamine or an over-the-counter pain reliever, depending on the seriousness of the sting.

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Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Small mixing bowl

About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.

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