Biting mosquitoes are most active at dusk, so that's the most important time to be vigilant with your prevention techniques. The itchy bites can be scratched open by children, leading to scabbing, scarring, and the skin infection impetigo. Prevention is the best strategy. |
The only way to assure that your children don't get bites is to go indoors at dusk and avoid going to any areas where mosquitoes are. But then, how much fun is that?
Some children do seem more attractive to others to mosquitoes, and some children seem to have more exaggerated local reactions with big itchy warm welts. To minimize the reaction to a mosquito bites, follow these steps:
1. Give an oral antihisamine like Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin (do NOT use topical Benadryl. It doesn't work, and can lead to sensitization and bigger reactions.) 2. Apply a topical steroid, like OTC hydrocortisone 1%. Your pediatrician can prescribe a stronger steroid if necessary. 3. Apply ice or a cool wet washcloth. 4. Reapply insect repellent so he doesn't get bitten again. 5. Have a Popsicle 6. Repeat all summer!
Use a good mosquito repellent. The best-studied and most commonly available active ingredient is DEET. This chemical has been used for decades as an insect repellant and is very safe. Though rare allergies are always possible with any product applied to the skin, almost all children do fine with DEET. Use a concentration of about 10%, which provides effective protection for about two hours. It should be reapplied after swimming. Children who have used DEET (or any other insect repellant) should take a bath or shower at the end of the day.
Two other agents that are effective insect repellants are picaridin (the active ingredient in Cutter Advance) and oil of lemon eucalyptus. These have no advantage over DEET, but some families prefer them because of their more pleasant smell and feel. Other products, including a variety of botanical ingredients, work for only a very short duration, or not at all.
Light colored clothing is less attractive to mosquitoes. Though kids won't want to wear long pants in the summer, keep in mind that skin covered with clothing is protected from biting insects. A T-shirt is better than a tank top, and a tank top is better than no shirt at all!
Should your little one end up with some itchy red bumps as a result of a mosquito bite, don't let them scratch or pick at the bite as it can cause infection. Here are some remedies to help relieve the itchiness.
* A paste made up of baking soda and water may relieve some of the itchiness and swelling * Calamine lotion * Over the counter topical medications such as Afterbite.
Mosquitoes are "home-bodies"—they don't typically wander far from their place of birth. So reducing the mosquito population in your own yard can really help.
For assistance on the proper control, check out our site here:
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