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Insects

Low Risk

Also known as:

bug

Possible Symptoms
  • Irritation to the inside of the mouth
  • rarely nausea and vomiting
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out the mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.

Additional Information

Quick Facts about eating insects:

Sometimes we have callers asking, “my child ate a bug, is that harmful?” Keep reading to learn more.

Children eating an insect may be alarming to parents; however, some insects are eaten in other countries as a source of protein in their normal diet. Once the insect is in the stomach, it is digested just as any food would be. The protein from a swallowed insect is used as nutrition by our bodies, while the hard outer shell will likely passes through the intestines into the stool. Some insects have a noxious (or harmful) liquid that is released as part of their defense mechanism which can cause irritation to the mouth or stomach when chewed on or swallowed.

Most times when children eat an insect, it is just a “taste test” with only a small amount actually reaching the stomach. When a dead insect is ingested, the caller may be concerned if an insecticide caused the death of the insect. If this is the case, the small/residue amount of the insecticide is NOT expected to result in any additional toxic symptoms.

If you find your child eating a bug, do not panic.  Take it away from them, wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth and give them some water to drink.  If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.

Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

Don’t wait. Download now.

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