Spring is finally here and with that are all the bugs and insects that come with it. Parents have been on high alert for ticks this season. We've been warned that a 'tick' explosion is happening, but that's not all parents need to be cautious of when kids are outside playing.
Warmer weather means mosquitoes are here as well. Parents have been forced to be extremely cautious regarding mosquitoes over the last few years thanks to the influx of viruses the insects carry. Both the Zika virus and West Nile disease have become more common as of late, with researchers blaming mosquitoes for their transmission. According to Romper, the CDC is now also warning against Dengue and Chikungunya which are both transmitted through mosquito bites as well.
While it may seem scary to send your children outside to play in the warm months, there are steps you can take to protect them. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics have offered up some tips to help make your kids safer during mosquito season.
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Stagnant water attracts mosquitos, so educating children to stay away from any areas where there is standing water is helpful. Empty the bird baths in your yard as well as the kiddie pools and keep your children away from still lakes and puddles to minimize the exposure to mosquitos.
If you know you're going to be somewhere that your child will be exposed to mosquitoes, dress them appropriately. The more skin that is covered in light colored clothing, the better. Wearing a wide brim hat is useful, as is wearing socks with closed toe shoes. Using a mosquito netting over strollers will also help reduce exposure for infants as well.
The AAP also states that dressing your child in clothing that has bright prints or floral patterns will attract mosquitoes. According to Romper, mosquitoes are attracted to navy and black colors, so dressing your child in lighter, solid color clothes can help reduce their risk of being bit. Mosquitoes are also attracted to scents, so try to avoid using perfumes, hairsprays or overly scented soaps on your child.
Of course, a good insect repellent is important too. The CDC suggests using a mosquito repellent with one of the following ingredients;
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
With kids, it is suggested that a parent apply the insect repellent by spraying it first on their hands then rubbing it on the child's skin. That way you can ensure it avoids any open cuts or wounds, as well as their eyes and mouth.
It's important to know that there is prevention and you shouldn't be worried about mosquitoes. Most bites will be harmless. If your child does get bit try to keep them from scratching and simply keep your eye out for any symptoms of illness.
If you're worried or your child shows any signs of fever, vomiting or lethargy you should take them to the doctor immediately.