Mosquito Season Is Here. The Doc Smitty Shares the Best Ways to Protect Your Child from Itchy Bites.
It looks like the rain in North Texas is finally going to stop for a while.
But, driving to work the last few weeks and seeing all the standing water already starts to make my skin itch. Mosquitos are on the way. And I suspect it’s going to be a terrible year.
Mosquitos can cause a variety of problems:
- Simple itching and discomfort-small bites which can lead to infection when scratched
- Large local reactions-which can be very itchy, even quite painful (See more at Skeeter Syndrome).
- Serious systemic illness such as West Nile Virus, Zika virus or Chikungunya.
But our kids don’t have to suffer. There are great options for preventing mosquito bites and warding off some of these miserable consequences.
N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide sounds like a little bit of a scary name for a chemical we can put on babies as young as two months. But DEET has been extensively studied and consistently shown to the safe and effective as a mosquito repellant in children. Recommended concentrations of 10-30% provide great protection with 30% lasting around five hours.
Picardin or Lemon Eucalyptus Oils
Multiple alternatives to DEET have been tried. Studies have shown that these two alteratives can be as effective as 10% DEET and thus last around two hours. Reapplication will be important if there are plans to be outside longer than two hours.
Here are some important facts about applying insect repellant:
- Spray a thin layer over clothes and exposed skin. Thick layers do not make it more effective.
- Use your hands to apply repellant to the face rather than directly spraying.
- Spray in open areas to avoid ongoing inhalation.
- Assist young children with application to ensure coverage and safety.
- Avoid combination sunscreen products because reapplication of sunscreen needs to be done more frequently.
Having a healthy and fun summer should include TONS of outdoor play. Keeping your child safe from mosquitos is one part of making sure nothing spoils the fun.
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