7 tips to protect your child against mosquito bites – Health shots

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The incidence of mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, dengue, malaria, and fever increase every year in monsoon. Children and infants are especially at higher risk since they play outside and infants cannot defend themselves against insects on their own. Therefore, parents need to be vigilant when choosing the play area for children during the monsoon or even taking indoor care. Usually, mosquito bites in children may appear on skin or might not even notice until they start feeling uncomfortable due to itching after the bite.
It is important to empower yourself with adequate information to protect your babies from hungry mosquitoes. So, you need to identify the bites and treat them correctly.
A small red bump occurs quickly after the bite, followed by pain and itching. The swollen bump can turn darker in colour or harder with time. The insect bites can look similar to a mosquito bite, and one might not know if the red bump or itching results from a mosquito bite or another insect. So, be careful.
In kids, sometimes a single mosquito bite can lead to what is seen as multiple bumps – this is due to an allergic reaction to the initial original bite. You may also notice symptoms such as rashes, bruising and large areas of swelling. To prevent it, natural mosquito repellents should be preferred, and skin application of repellents should only be used after an infant crosses six months.
The urge to itch is a real issue after the mosquito bite, which can last for a few hours or more, making it annoying for the baby and parents. In the case of babies and young children, it will be hard to stop them from scratching the infected area, and this might lead to deeper scratches, open the bite, and introduce a potential infection. Therefore, it is essential to follow the following steps to control and prevent the baby from mosquito bites:
1. Avoid sending kids to mosquito dense areas like water ponds, gardens, and other play areas.
2. Keep mosquitoes and insects away from your house by adequately closing the door and windows.
3. Dress appropriately like full sleeves tops/shirts and full pants or leggings, and apply an adequate amount of insect repellent before sending kids outdoors or even staying indoors. You can also use anti-mosquito patches that can be applied on the child’s clothing or even roll-on mosquito repellent on fabrics.
4. Use mosquito netting to keep mosquitoes away from kids while sleeping.
5. The doors and windows of the house can have netting fitted to keep mosquitoes out, especially if you plan to keep windows open in the evening.
6. If eating out, avoid open-air restaurants, especially at night. Head to indoor hotels and restaurants where there is less chance of mosquito bites.
7. If your kid is going out, apply insect repellent all over their face, hands, and legs.
1. Use soap and water to clean the area.
2. To reduce swelling, apply a cold pack to the region.
3. To reduce itching, apply an over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine ointment after consulting with the doctor.
Generally, the mosquito bite settles down in a few hours, but if the itching lasts for several days or the affected area remains swollen for a longer duration, you might need to see the doctor. Also, if your child starts showing some other symptoms like joint pain or headache, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting or a rash, you should immediately consult with the doctor. It might be difficult sometimes to assess the symptoms in the baby, but you can check with your pediatrician and discuss if you see any relevant signs and symptoms post the mosquito bites.
Taking all the precautions to stay away from the mosquito is the most crucial step that one can take. The above mentioned preventive measures will protect the baby from itchiness and swelling connected to the mosquito bites, helping parents worry less about a possible infection or severe illness. Even after that, if the child suffers from bites and related infections later, look for the signs and symptoms and take necessary action accordingly. Doctors will mostly prescribe local cream or ointment to reduce the bite reaction, and in cases of severe itching, some mild antihistamine syrup may be prescribed. If illness sets in, relevant medicine or hospital admission may be required.
Dr Asmita Mahajan, Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim  Read More
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