Mosquito bites usually are not solely uncomfortable, however in addition they pose a danger of transmitting extreme sicknesses. That’s why mosquitos are thought-about one of many deadliest animals on the earth, answerable for greater than 1 million deaths per yr worldwide. 

As we head into the hotter months, we requested UC Davis pediatrician Rachel Caynak methods to finest defend in opposition to and deal with mosquito bites and methods to safeguard in opposition to mosquito-borne sickness. 

What are a number of the commonest mosquito-bourne ailments?

Within the U.S., West Nile virus might be the most typical illness unfold by mosquitos. This will likely trigger fever, headache, and in extreme circumstances, neurologic illness like meningitis. Fortunately for youngsters, it’s extra prone to be symptomatic and extreme in adults.  

Child being sprayed with repellent

Some mosquito species in elements of the U.S. and its territories can transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus. These areas embody Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa. A number of circumstances of Jap equine encephalitis (EEE) virus are additionally reported every year in japanese and Gulf Coast states. 

Dengue is also called breakbone fever, with a sudden onset of fever and rash, and extreme joint and muscle pains. Chikungunya may additionally trigger fever and joint pains, and the ache could also be debilitating and final for months. Zika might severely have an effect on the growing fetus. Though EEE is uncommon, roughly 30% of individuals with EEE die and lots of survivors have ongoing neurologic issues. 

In different elements of the world, mosquitos unfold malaria and yellow fever. Fortuitously within the U.S., malaria transmission is sort of utterly eradicated. However worldwide, malaria causes greater than 200 million infections a yr, and greater than 400,000 deaths a yr, principally in kids in Africa. 

So what can we do to scale back the danger of getting a mosquito chew, and probably being uncovered to certainly one of these ailments?

At dwelling, ensure you are checking your yard to make sure there isn’t any standing water. Assume pots within the backyard. Clear your gutters. Mosquitos like hotter climate, in order that they are typically the worst in summer time, however the actual “mosquito season” is totally different relying on the place you reside. 

If you’re going exterior round nightfall or daybreak, which is probably the most interesting occasions for mosquitos, ensure you costume your self and your youngster in lengthy sleeves and lengthy pants. 

A research, taking a look at blood kind, discovered that folks with blood kind O had been extra prone to be bitten by mosquitoes, however I believe the jury continues to be out on the true purpose some individuals are extra scrumptious than others. Rachel Caynak

Which mosquito repellents do you suggest?   

There are chemical repellants (commonest are DEET and Picaridin) that defend in opposition to mosquitos, ticks and different flies. DEET-containing repellents are efficient and secure, however in kids, we don’t need to use a focus of greater than 30% DEET. 

Chemical repellents shouldn’t be used on infants youthful than 2 months. The focus of DEET in a product signifies how lengthy the product can be efficient — the next focus works for an extended time. For instance, 10% DEET gives safety for about 2 hours, and 30% DEET protects for about 5 hours, so it’s acceptable to make use of the minimal focus for the period of time you count on to be exterior. The CDC recommends utilizing merchandise with a minimal of 20% DEET

Picaridin is taken into account equally efficient, and a few want it as a result of it has minimal odor and no damaging impact on plastics and different supplies in the best way DEET does. Take care when making use of all of those chemical merchandise to youngsters and ensure to solely use them on skin-exposed areas. Keep away from the palms, mouth and eyes. 

How about pure repellents like plant oils (citronella, lemon, and many others.)?

These are secure, however haven’t been authorised for effectiveness by the Environmental Safety Company. Most of those maintain bugs away for under a short while. As well as, some pure repellents could cause pores and skin irritation in case your youngster has delicate pores and skin and lots of of those oils may be poisonous if ingested, so it’s necessary to maintain them away from young children. If there’s a critical danger for mosquito-borne sicknesses in your space, we’d suggest a product with DEET or picaridin. If not, pure repellents ought to be high quality for short-term use. 

What about clothes that claims it has insect repellant in it? Are these advisable for youngsters who could also be going to high-risk areas?

Sure. Most of this clothes is handled with permethrin, an insect repellant that deters each mosquitos and ticks, though many mother and father might realize it from having to apply it to their youngsters’ head for lice. Bear in mind it can solely defend the realm coated by the clothes. It seems that a really small quantity is absorbed via the pores and skin, so it poses a really low danger to kids. This clothes ought to be washed individually out of your different laundry and is often solely efficient for a predetermined variety of washes. 

How about therapy of mosquito bites?

Some folks can have a big native response that may be generally mistaken for a pores and skin an infection or an allergy. However most individuals have a far much less strong response to mosquito bites. Most are simply annoying and itchy. Whereas some folks could also be delicate to the chew and have a bigger native pores and skin response, folks shouldn’t have anaphylaxis to a mosquito chew. After getting a mosquito chew, you may have your youngster ice the realm, apply an over-the-counter steroid or anti itch cream (like hydrocortisone or calamine lotion.) 

As a result of these bites may be itchy, it’s necessary to maintain fingernails clear and if wanted, cowl the chew with a bandage. If you happen to discover a scab has developed on high of the chew or there may be new honey crusting or drainage from the realm, you may at occasions develop a small superficial pores and skin an infection which is impetigo. 

If you happen to discover this, it’s acceptable to strive cleansing the realm with a delicate cleaning soap and apply an over-the-counter anti-bacterial ointment corresponding to polysporin or Neosporin twice to 3 occasions day by day. If it doesn’t enhance, verify together with your pediatrician. 

Why do some folks appeal to mosquitoes greater than others?  

There have been some research that feminine mosquitos (the one ones to really chew people) have odor receptors that may sense elevated CO2 emission however it could additionally simply be your distinctive odor. A research, taking a look at blood kind, discovered that folks with blood kind O had been extra prone to be bitten by mosquitoes, however I believe the jury continues to be out on the true purpose some individuals are extra scrumptious than others. 

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